NCAA Against Sports Betting In USAJake Cooper | 02 Mar 2018
While many Americans are in favour of the expansion of legalised sports betting in the USA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has revealed that 80% of its athletic directors are strongly opposed to it.
Former professional basketball player and the head of Lead1, a group composed of athletic directors from NCAA Division I, Tom McMillen told the Legal Sports Report that its directors have been surveyed and most of them are against the wider legalisation of sports betting.
This comes in response to the current push, driven primarily by the State of New Jersey, to overturn American gambling law to legalise sports betting beyond the borders of the handful of states where it is currently allowed. To this end, New Jersey and other proponents of the expansion of legalised gambling in the US are in the process of challenging a 24-year-old act prohibiting betting on sports across most of the country.
A Closer Look at PAPSA
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is federal legislation that was passed by the US Government in 1992. This law prohibits most US states (with the exceptions of Nevada and a few others) from authorising sports betting. In fact, under PAPSA, it is illegal for governmental entities in these states to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise gambling are based on both amateur and professional sporting events.
With New Jersey legally challenging PAPSA, there is now a distinct possibility that the act will be amended or even overturned in June, when the US Supreme Court Rules on the matter. However, despite a definite positive trend in public opinion about the wider legalisation of betting, its NCAA critics and others say it poses too many risks.
NCAA Athletic Directors’ Concerns
Although the NCAA has yet to declare its official position on the PAPSA challenge, Tim McMillen told the Legal Sports Report that its directors are concerned about the potential risks involved in legalised sports betting.
McMillen specifically emphasised the threat that sports betting poses to college sports, saying that, if expansion were to go ahead, it should at least exclude sports at this level. He pointed out that young players are more vulnerable and often do not have many resources, making them easier targets for those who would seek to tamper with game results. The potential cost of something like a point-shaving scandal to the brand, goodwill, and fiscus of a university was cited as an example of how things could go wrong if sports betting on college games were allowed.
Despite its concerns, however, the National Collegiate Athletic Association does not intend to get involved in the matter until the Supreme Court ruling has been made. In the meantime, said McMillen, the organisation simply wants to keep its members abreast of the situation as it develops, particularly at state level.