NCAA Issues Update on Sports Betting Rules and Player Availability Reporting

The college football regular season is right around the corner. For those hoping for an update on the reporting of player availability requirements, you’re in luck. If you were hoping the update would say that reporting on the status of players prior to contests getting underway would become standard, not so much.

The NCAA Board of Governors recently issued a press release explaining the findings of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering it formed this past October.

Ultimately, the committee has decided to reaffirm NCAA rules regarding sports betting and the sharing of information with outside sources. Most of what they decided is standard stuff, but the NCAA will not be following the NFL’s example and issuing reports on players being out, questionable or probable to play.

“Significant Concerns” Regarding Player Availability Reporting Model

NCAA rules have traditionally been heavy-handed on gambling, although it has relaxed its stance in some ways since the legalization of sports betting. Beyond an outright ban on players and university administrators from wagering on games, that also extends to the sharing of information with those who have ties to sports betting.

The rules make sense from as far as protecting the integrity of the game. Clear rules on the books can avoid confusion for impressionable student-athletes, especially those who may feel pressure to provide some kind of inside information to outside sources.

Of course, there’s another side to that coin. Wagering on college football and basketball is big business. The outcome on the field or court can be significantly altered by the presence or absence of key players.

This information is critical to bettors and industry types alike. A start player being out doesn’t just completely change things for the end-users of a betting site; it can also completely change the odds a legitimate sportsbook should offer to its customers.

Those are both valid concerns even if gambling isn’t exactly the NCAA to priority, but the Ad Hoc committee has essentially punted. From the release:

“The ad hoc committee gathered thorough feedback from conference commissioners, athletics administrators, athletic trainers and student-athletes across all three divisions about potential player availability reporting,” Drake said after the group’s meeting Tuesday in Indianapolis. “The membership has significant concerns about the purpose, parameters, enforcement and effectiveness of a player availability reporting model.”

For now, there are no changes to availability reporting requirements. While there’s no clarity on if or when that may change, perhaps the introduction of new voices in the room will help broaden perspectives.

Independent Members Welcomed to the Board

Back in April, the NCAA announced that five independent members had been elected to the board. The stated goal is for the new members to “provide increased objectivity and fresh perspectives to the Association’s highest-ranking governance body.”

The new members had their first taste of what it’s like to be in the room in a meeting earlier this month. Here’s what new board member Denis McDonough had to say:

“Having the independent members at the board meeting for the first time is another important step in NCAA reforms to improve the college sports experience for student-athletes across all three divisions. 

“My colleagues and I recognize the important assignment we have been given as new independent members. Chairman Drake and the other members of the board welcomed us and made clear that additional perspectives from leaders outside higher education are important to the board’s deliberations on the important issues the Association faces.”

For years, the Board of Governors has given off an air of being rather averse to change. It’ll be interesting to see if some new voices in the mix leads to a little more flexibility.

Hammer Dropped on College Staffers for Wagering

In other NCAA news, the association also recently announced a negotiated resolution for a pair of UNC Greensboro athletics staffers who were found to have wagered on games. The NCAA outlined its findings in a release.

“Two former UNC Greensboro athletics staff members placed sports wagers in violation of NCAA rules, including on the university’s men’s basketball team during their employment at the school, according to a negotiated resolution agreement approved by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

“The university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the university failed to monitor and ensure compliance with NCAA rules when seven staff members did not initially report the activities of one of the two men, a women’s assistant basketball coach. The former assistant coach also violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he did not cooperate with the NCAA investigation.

“This case was processed through the new negotiated resolution process…”

One of the accused is a former women’s assistant coach for the university who acknowledged placing online wagers on both professional and college sports. That included games involving the UNC Greensboro men’s basketball team.

The other party is a former assistant director of the university’s fundraising organization who also admitted placing small sports wagers online. The bets were placed on both professional and college sports as well, including at least one wager on the university’s men’s hoops team.

Among the penalties handed down were a $15,000 fine, a three-year probation period, and show-cause orders which essentially restrict the parties from athletic-related duties.

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