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NCAA Adjust Player Betting Rules

In the wake of multiple, career-ending scandals, the NCAA, college athletics’ governing body, is adjusting its rules for dealing with players who get caught betting on their own sports. Under a new change instituted last week by the Division I Council Coordination Committee, student athletes will be granted a measure of mercy in certain situations involving regulated sports betting.

The new rule changes allow a player who is caught wagering on sports from his or her own school (though all of players caught in sports betting scandals this year have been men) will be ineligible to compete for one year and will lose one year of the four years of eligibility that all players are entitled to under NCAA rules. Under the previous rules, players caught in sports betting scandals were permanently banned from NCAA play.

Jon Steinbrecher, chair of the Council Coordination Committee and commissioner of the Mid-American Conference described the changes in a recent press release saying, “To be clear, Division I members do not encourage student-athletes to engage in sports wagering at any level, and the actions today to modify reinstatement conditions should not be interpreted as support for wagering behaviors. NCAA members continue to prioritize integrity of competition and felt that reinstatement conditions for violations of wagering rules should reflect that focus and, when possible, also accommodate opportunities for preventative education.”

Steinbrecher went on to describe the NCAA’s overall approach to the issues of sports betting saying, “The council agreed with Division I commissioners that the reinstatement conditions for wagering violations in limited circumstances should be adjusted. Member schools need to fully examine NCAA wagering legislation overall — particularly in light of changes in recent years to federal and state laws — but the council agreed that additional changes should not be made until potential changes to rules are contemplated.”