Inside Compliance: Don’t Bet On It

On the second Wednesday of every month (we pushed this one a few days), a member of the Georgia State Compliance staff will give InsideGSUSports a look at what is going on in their department. Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming Wednesday: Communications.

The madness of March has extended to America’s wallets.  More money is bet on March Madness than any other event, including the Super Bowl.  Over $12 billion total is bet on March Madness annually compared to $10 billion for the Super Bowl, according to USA Today.

Heading into the annual frenzy of March Madness, the Georgia State University Athletics Compliance Office would like to remind student-athletes and staff members of the importance of NCAA rules against sports wagering.  NCAA Bylaw 10.3 specifically prohibits college athletics administrators, conference staff officials and college student-athletes from gambling on college or professional sporting events or giving information to anyone who does place bets on college or professional sports.

That means no wagers for any item or any college or professional sports event, even those that don’t involve Georgia State.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following: sports “pools,” internet gambling on sports events, fantasy leagues that award a prize and require a fee to participate, sports wagering using “800” numbers, and sharing of information regarding injuries, new plays, team morale, discipline problems, etc.

It is important to note that student-athletes and staff members could violate Bylaw 10.3 without actually risking anything of monetary value.  For example, it is illegal for any individual associated with Georgia State athletics to tell someone that the team is having chemistry issues or a certain player has been nursing an ankle injury for the past three weeks.

Even a “friendly” wager can have negative consequences.  For example, several members of a women’s soccer team at a Division I institution participated in a sports pool to pick the winners of college sporting events.  The women won the pool, which was worth a $50 gift certificate.  When the institution learned about the participation in the pool, the women were banned from two games.  The student-athletes were not allowed to accept the gift certificate and were required to perform 10 hours of community service.

The NCAA takes sports wagering activities very seriously and anyone who violates the NCAA rules in any way risks their remaining eligibility.  Furthermore, violators run the risk of being charged with a crime as sports wagering is illegal in every state except Nevada and Delaware.  If a student-athlete has any questions about whether an activity constitutes sports wagering, they should speak to their coach and/or the Compliance Office before they participate.

Why is the NCAA so tough on sports wagering?

“There is no more vulnerable person in the world of sports than the college athlete,” said Mike Welch of the FBI’s organized crime unit.  “If organized crime senses an opportunity to make money on a college campus, it can be there overnight.  Most student bookies, even if they don’t know it, are working for organized crime.  Several steps removed, out of sight, organized crime collects money from student bookies and allows them to exist.”

If your college buddies tempt you to place a sports bet, even a friendly one, walk away.  If you’ve gambled before and need help quitting, talk to your coach or a GSU athletics staff member, or call the 24-hour confidential Nationwide Gambling Helpline at 800/522-4700.

–GSU Compliance

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