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Volume 25 No. 61
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NCAA To Study Effects Of Legal Gambling, But Remains Opposed

The NCAA said that it "remains opposed" to schools making revenue off legalized gambling and is "focused on protecting student-athletes and the integrity of the games through education and consistent national guidelines," according to David Purdum of ESPN.com. The NCAA on Thursday said that an internal team of experts has "started examining the long-term effect legalized sports betting could have on college sports, including officiating, rules and the use of integrity services." While the NCAA studies the issue, Marshall and West Virginia are among the D-I schools "interested in receiving a percentage of the amount wagered on college sports." Marshall AD Mike Hamrick said, "The fee would help us with additional resources for us to do what we need to do to deal with this whole process." Purdum noted UConn, Missouri and Rutgers are "among the others that have met with professional leagues to discuss getting a fee from sports betting" (ESPN.com, 7/19). The NCAA BOD has "already suspended the association's ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada" (AP, 7/19).

EXERCISING CAUTION: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes as legalized sports gambling is "set to sweep across the ACC footprint, the conference's approach is not to place any bets at all on its potential impact." ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, "I may be naive." Swofford's "let's-wait-and-see stance is at the far laissez-faire end of the spectrum." It is in part because of his "belief that 'the optics' of betting on the performance of college athletes are terrible." It is also in part because of everyone's "experience with such earth-shaking changes as cost of attendance and alcohol sales that could barely muster a nudge to the irrepressible steamroller that is the billion-dollar amateur athletics machine." That makes Swofford's stance -- and by extension, the ACC's -- an "odd mixture of sepia-tinted principles and hard-earned pragmatism" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 7/20).

CHIPPING AWAY: In Pittsburgh, Meyer & Nesbitt write an influx of gambling revenue -- a revenue stream still considered "somewhat unsavory -- may not mean death to amateurism, but it's at least another dent." ESPN's Jay Bilas said, "The NCAA, every time there has been an opportunity to bring in new revenue, they bring it in. It's like asking what changes you expect with alcohol being sold at games. People lamented for years alcohol was some evil and you shouldn't sell beer at college games. They're doing it now, and the world is still spinning on its axis." Meyer & Nesbitt note few anticipate gambling revenue to "persuade the NCAA to start handing its athletes checks." National College Players Association Exec Dir Ramogi Huma called the concept of integrity fees "bogus." Huma: "What is a better use of some of this revenue -- protecting the players who are vulnerable and lacking basic help or giving a cash giveaway to NCAA sports? We know that revenue is just going to find its way to increased salaries and luxury boxes in stadiums" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/20).