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NCAA Looking into Gambling Scandals

The month of May has brought about some negative news stories surrounding legal sports betting, especially as it pertains to collegiate sporting events. After a couple of major scandals rocked by college sports and the sports betting industry, the NCAA is looking to respond.

The first major sports betting scandal happened with the University of Alabama baseball team, and the head coach of that team ended up losing his job. Next it was a report from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that it was investigating illegal gambling at both Iowa and Iowa State Universities.

The NCAA has now announced that it plans to take a closer look at the impacts of sports betting, but they might not have a real say in trying to make significant changes. There will be several states taken by the NCAA as it looks to gather some data, and sending out a survey to all student athletes will be a part of that process.

Many colleges and universities tried to fight back against the legalization of sports betting, especially when it pertained to betting on those events. There are still a couple of states that have restricted some forms of college betting, but most states are extremely wide open.

Mental Health Also a Concern

While the NCAA isn’t likely going to be able to keep states from allowing betting on college sporting events, there is another problem that can be tackled. College athletes are facing pressure and harassment from sports bettors, and it’s impacting the mental health for many of those players.

Most of this abuse is coming from online sources, and it’s hard for these coaches and athletes to escape the verbal abuse. The NCAA does have safeguards in place to keep athletes safe, but it’s currently not working under the current format.

The NCAA Mental Health Advisory Group is not a new organization, but that group will now have to shift its focus to study the impacts of legal sports betting. One option that has been introduced is to ban bettors from placing wagers if they were ever caught harassing NCAA athletes.

Lawmakers are in agreement with the NCAA when it comes to this problem, but it’s hard to prove who is actually doing the abuse. Legal sports betting isn’t going away, but the hope is that the NCAA student athletes will be protected moving forward.

No Real Data to Show a Problem

The situation with the Alabama baseball team was caught as it was taking place, and there was swift action taking. The IRGC hasn’t announced findings from investigating the two universities, and it’s unclear what violations occurred.

One of the main reasons that the NCAA and state lawmakers are struggling to make any firm decisions is that there just isn’t enough data. Even though there were a couple breaking news stories in May, that hasn’t really been the trend since sports betting took off throughout the United States.

A study done in 2016 shows that over 30% of college-aged students were making bets on sporting events, but those were all done at offshore sportsbooks. It’s impossible to know if legalizing sports betting in the US has made the issue worse, or if less bets are being made.

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