The NCAA altered some of its sports betting violation penalty guidelines Wednesday, as the organization takes a closer look at how sports wagering impacts its athletes.
Previously, NCAA guidelines stripped all eligibility from student-athletes who wagered on teams at their own schools. New guidelines lighten those penalties, provided the player isn’t wagering on their own team.
The new rules state that a student-athlete who wagers on another team at their school will lose one season of eligibility and be required to participate in sports wagering education training. If a player wagers on their own team, they still face permanent eligibility loss.
“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,” Jon Steinbrecher, chair of the NCAA Council Coordination Committee and commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, said in a statement. “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.”
Even with the revised rule, University of Iowa senior defensive lineman Noah Shannon’s college career is over. Shannon wagered on Iowa sports other than football, and the one-year suspension cost him his final season. Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz called the ruling “wrong” in a statement.
Other guidelines unchanged
Last month, the NCAA said it was considering other alterations to its sports wagering violation punishments. Those potential changes included reducing the punishment for first-time offenders who wager on sports outside their university.
For instance, if a college football player wagered on an NBA game, the penalty might only result in mandatory educational training, rather than a suspension.
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Those potential rule changes were not discussed in Wednesday’s release, which stated that the reinstatement adjustments are the “first step in membership action to review NCAA rules around sports wagering more broadly.”
“The council agreed with Division I commissioners that the reinstatement conditions for wagering violations in limited circumstances should be adjusted,” Steinbrecher said. “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.”
NCAA rules currently prohibit student-athletes from wagering on any sport sponsored by the NCAA. For example, college athletes can’t wager on college or professional football because the NCAA sponsors football.
Charlie Baker slams prop betting
While the NCAA has been revising its wagering penalties, NCAA President Charlie Baker focused on concerns about college prop betting in a CBS News interview.
“I think prop betting, in some respects, is one of the parts I worry about the most,” Baker said.
Baker called for college prop bets, which he believes can compromise game integrity, to be banned across the country. The state rules on college prop betting vary.
Some states, like Ohio and Maryland, allow college sports prop betting. Others, like Pennsylvania and Virginia, don’t allow those types of wagers. States like Illinois don’t allow prop bets on in-state teams, while Massachusetts and Virginia don’t allow any wagering on in-state college teams but do permit bettors to wager on games involving out-of-state programs.
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