University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh offered up some advice at a recent media day for any of his players who are thinking about getting involved with gambling. His thought is that those players should, “…avoid it like the plague.”
Harbaugh is right to get ahead of the issue of gambling and college athletics, now that regulated sports betting is a possibility in nearly every state in the Union.

Harbaugh, who is entering his fourth year as the Ann Arbor-based coach of one of college football’s most prominent programs, made his comments about gambling at a press day in Detroit. When asked about the new landscape of legal sports gambling, the fiery coach replied:

Don’t gamble. Don’t associate with gamblers. Avoid it like the plague. Don’t walk away from that, run.

Harbaugh didn’t elaborate much on his comments, but he didn’t need to in order to make a pretty good point. Because they work for free and are generally unable to work part-time jobs, college athletes are especially susceptible to the dark side of sports betting. Players who play for Harbaugh’s team, which is perennially ranked and extremely prominent, are less likely to fall for this than players from less prominent programs.

Of course one of the nice things about regulated markets is that they’re really good at picking up anomalies that simply aren’t visible in black markets. For example, if a young person walks in a casino with a bag of cash and absurd wager that pays out, someone is going to notice.


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