In a recent letter, National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) president Charlie Baker revealed that the organization has uncovered 175 infractions related to its sports-betting policy since 2018. Furthermore, Baker disclosed that there are currently 17 ongoing investigations into potential violations.
NCAA Keeps Active Investigations Confidential
The details of the active investigations and the names of the schools or athletes involved were not disclosed, as the NCAA has a policy of withholding such information, reported the Associated Press. According to the NCAA, only a small fraction of their approximately 13,000 sporting events, less than 0.25%, are flagged for suspicious betting patterns. An even smaller percentage involves specific and actionable information.
The NCAA, like many college conferences, employs a company to monitor and identify potential violations of its betting policy. The company’s role is to flag any suspicious activity, ranging from small wagers as low as $5 to instances of providing inside information. The ongoing investigations cover a wide range of severity.
While specific cases are kept confidential, a few notable incidents have made headlines in recent months. Brad Bohannon, the baseball coach for the University of Alabama, was dismissed in May due to suspicious betting activity involving his team. Additionally, the universities of Iowa and Iowa State jointly announced that 41 athletes were under suspicion of violating betting rules.
Nevada Congresswoman Appreciates NCAA’s Transparency on Sports Betting
The surge in legal sports betting across the country over the past five years has heightened concerns about potential scandals in college sports. The NCAA maintains strict rules against gambling by athletes, although recent adjustments recognize mitigating factors when penalizing young individuals who have made mistakes.
In response to the rising risks associated with sports betting, Baker outlined several measures that the NCAA is taking to ensure the integrity of its events. The organization is prioritizing education within athletic departments to raise awareness of the risks involved. Baker emphasized that the mental health and safety of the NCAA’s more than 500,000 student-athletes are paramount.
Congresswoman Dina Titus, a Democrat from Nevada, expressed her gratitude to Baker for the transparency and information provided. She also revealed that she had sent letters to major professional sports leagues, seeking details on their efforts to safeguard players and the public from illegal activities.
At the same time, at the beginning of June, Baker hinted at the NCAA’s potential entry into the sports betting space as a means to generate new revenue streams. While recognizing the ethical concerns raised by not allowing athletes to opt out of having their performance data sold to media and gambling companies, Baker emphasized the importance of athlete data in driving growth and suggested that decisions regarding data access and sale should not be determined by athletes themselves.