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NCAA to Study Online Abuse of College Athletes

The NCAA is teaming up with the Signify Group to create an AI-driven service that monitors online threats to student athletes. It’s an issue that’s grown in severity since the onset of regulated sports betting in the United States and, according to the NCAA, it’s an issue that’s having a big impact on the lives of student athletes at schools big and small.

Signify, a sports-oriented AI company, has developed a product called Threat Matrix that’s used to protect individuals against online threats. The company will be adapting its existing technology to the unique pressures and threats facing college sports, initially, by studying threats made to players participating in national championship games and tournaments.

The study will also be targeting those threats made by individuals who are motivated by their interest in sports betting. A recent study commissioned by the NCAA found that 10 percent of threats made to college athletes are sports betting-related.

NCAA President Charlie Baker commented on the study in a recent press release saying, “Engaging Signify to monitor NCAA championships reflects our resolute commitment to college athlete safety and well-being. This is a first-of-its-kind project in college sports focusing on online abuse and threats, while arming social platforms and law enforcement to take action to protect thousands of student-athletes and all championship participants. This pilot is just the start of much broader online protection measures the NCAA will put in place to guide our longer-term strategy in this crucial space.”

Jonathan Hirshler, CEO of Signify Group expressed similar enthusiasm for the project adding, “Over the coming months I am confident that we will not only unearth deep insights into online abuse and threat in college sports, but also help drive real action in this space in partnership with the NCAA, platforms and law enforcement agencies.”