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Volume 26 No. 207
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Ohio Public Universities Ask Pols To Outlaw Betting On Schools In State

Ohio's 14 public universities are asking lawmakers to "prohibit betting on football and other collegiate sports as the state moves to authorize sports wagering," according to Randy Ludlow of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Opponents of permitting bets on college football games and other amateur athletic contests "worry it could potentially sully and compromise college athletics." Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council, which consists of Ohio's 14 public universities, testified before the House Finance Committee to "object to legislation that would allow betting on both professional and collegiate sports." House Bill 194 would "authorize sports wagering at casinos, racinos and designated veterans and fraternal organizations." It also would "permit online and mobile betting through the Ohio Lottery Commission." Johnson said, "It would not take a great leap of logic to conclude the risk of student athletes soliciting and accepting payments in order influence the outcome of games may increase." Meanwhile, state House Speaker Larry Householder insists that the Ohio Lottery Commission "operate the sports wagering system to ensure profits go to schools." He also said that the lottery is the "only legal means of instituting sports betting." However, state Senate President Larry Obhof "wants the Casino Control Commission ... to handle sports wagering, believing it is better equipped to oversee betting." That bill, which has "not yet had a hearing, also would permit wagering on college sports" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/19).

CRACKING DOWN: In N.Y., Alan Blinder writes the "rapid spread" of legalized sports betting is "prompting colleges and universities to grapple quickly with whether they can, or should, control a lawful activity so explicitly linked to the performances of their students." There is "no consensus among universities about how they should respond." Purdue last week announced a "sweeping prohibition on betting on Boilermakers athletics by students, employees and contractors" of the school. Purdue now appears to be the first public university to have "pursued a policy as unambiguous as private institutions." Major universities in Mississippi took a "series of steps (some overt, others more subtle) last year to deter misconduct." In Arkansas, the state university system "approved a policy that barred employees and students who were 'directly associated with a team, student-athlete or other participant' in a sporting event from placing bets in some instances." Villanova moved last November to "forbid employees and students from gambling on athletic events involving the school's teams" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21).