In the years since the start of legal sports gambling, New York has, so far, managed to avoid seeing any of its collegiate athletic programs or student-athletes linked to any serious scandals.
Perhaps it’s because NY sports betting, like its neighbor New Jersey, significantly limits the types of college bets offered to gamblers. Or, maybe it’s because fears about young adults falling prey to malicious actors as a result of widespread legal gambling were overblown.
More than likely, it is just as simple as college betting scandals – such as those in Iowa and Alabama– are extremely rare.
Whatever the reason(s), the NCAA continues to do whatever it believes will safeguard students and institutions from the pitfalls of sports betting.
NCAA aims to ‘protect student-athletes’ from sports betting risks
As such, the NCAA is launching a new program to educate students about “problem gambling’s harms and the risks sports wagering poses to the integrity of their games,” according to a press release.
Charlie Baker, president of the NCAA, noted that one of his first actions when he started his position in March was to “gather as much information as possible about sports betting on college campuses.” This new program, he continued, stemmed from that research.
“We believe this new program will help protect student-athletes from the risks that come with sports wagering,” Baker said in the press release.
“The data is clear that athletes with firsthand experiences connect with current student-athletes better than any other material we could develop, so we are incredibly grateful for their participation in this effort.”
Wide-ranging, all-encompassing program for education
The NCAA’s e-learning module is designed for the nearly 500,000 current and prospective student-athletes coming into a college sports landscape that is wholly engrossed in legal sports gambling.
The module is a free, interactive tool that provides information, scenarios, Q-and-As and resources, all delivered by former student-athletes for student-athletes.
After receiving feedback from student-athletes and campus leaders, the NCAA engaged former college athletes, including an NFL player, to better connect with current student-athletes. Topics covered also include NCAA rules and social media harassment.
Former NCAA athletes assisting with e-learning program
Among the former NCAA athletes participating in the sports gambling education program are:
- Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts, Syracuse, finance/marketing management
- Mikala Hall, Central Michigan (basketball), MBA
- Joshua Butler, Sioux Falls (football), MBA
“Sports wagering has exploded in our society,” Franklin said in the press release, “and it is extremely important for athletes — at all levels — to receive thorough education on the rules and risks of sports betting to help protect themselves, their team, sport, mental health, finances and future,” Franklin said.
As it stands 35 states and Washington DC have legalized sports gambling.
In a letter to Nevada Rep. Dina Titus earlier this year, Baker said that sports betting brings along risks “that could undermine the integrity of competition.” He also indicated that the NCAA has discovered 175 infractions relating to its sports betting policy since 2018 and currently has 17 active investigations.
The NCAA prohibits coaches, athletes and team staffers from participating in sports wagering.