College athletes need protection against a host of new challenges brought on by regulated sports betting in the United States. That’s what the NCAA president Charlie Baker is saying as he launches a new campaign to get state legislatures to enact laws to help protect student athletes from harassment by gamblers while maintaining the integrity of the game. It’s a big job but, given the growing number of sports betting scandals involving students this season alone, it’s an incredibly important job, too.
Late last week, Baker announced that the NCAA will be lobbying state lawmakers across the country to act on a laundry list of sports betting-related woes including toughening laws on bettors who harass student athletes; enacting a standard age of 21 to gamble anywhere; build out a hotline for athletes to report harassment; and increase education for players about the risks of gambling. The NCAA is also particularly interested in changing, or even banning, individual player props on student athletes.
In comments reported in by ESPN.com, Brown described the NCAA’s goal in the effort saying, “The NCAA is making changes to help student-athletes make smart choices when it comes to sports betting, but given the explosive growth of this new industry, we are eager to partner with lawmakers, regulators and industry leaders to protect student-athletes from harassment and threats.”
Earlier this year, the NCAA revealed that there have been at least 175 sports betting violations by students and staff since regulated sports betting was legalized in 2018. Those incidents involve everything from underage gambling to players providing insider information to gambling rings. Virtually all of these incidents destroyed, or greatly impacted students’ and their academic futures.