Colleges Ban Sports Betting, While Other Schools Stay Neutral

In colleges all over the country, athletic directors and school officials are cautiously wading into the waters of sports betting as it expands throughout the United States.

After the Supreme Court’s decision in mid-2018 to allow states to legalize sports betting, colleges have tried to find the best way to tackle the thorny subject of how wagering on their school’s sporting events could affect student-athletes and the integrity of these events.

In different areas of the country, schools are taking vastly different approaches in dealing with sports betting.

In Mississippi, regulators and schools came up with a watchlist to study big bets taken by local sportsbooks, taking a far more neutral approach to monitoring.

In contrast, universities in Indiana, such as Purdue, and others in Pennsylvania have created far more punitive rules slapping a complete ban on students and employees from betting on their own school’s sporting events.

“Because these are fuzzy questions, and they’re new questions, we’re not asserting that we’ve got it tacked down in all particulars,” Mitch Daniels, Purdue’s president, told the New York Times recently.

Why has Purdue Banned All Students and Staff From Betting on Games?

Purdue has been at the forefront of the discussion after they released a total ban on all betting on the Boilermakers sporting events for students, employees, and contractors last week.

Citing their Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct, Purdue officials declared a complete prohibition that banned any sports wager that “placed, accepted or solicited on any Purdue University team, student-athlete or coach from any campus, whether in favor or against the team, student-athlete or coach.”

The school also attached bans of in-game betting, betting from any part of the world, bets made online or through a bookie and finally, regardless of whether the bet is made legally or illegally on Boilermaker games.

The punishment if caught making a bet on a Purdue game could cost a faculty member their job and find a student expelled for a major infraction.

Purdue’s prohibition is in line with the NCAA’s stance that all betting should be illegal on their sponsored events. The governing body believes that betting can cause undue pressure on a student-athlete and make them open to manipulation from criminals looking to arrange the outcome of a game for financial benefit.

University President Daniels told the New York Times that trustees had an “unease” about the legal quagmire that sports betting brings to campuses. “It just did not feel consistent with a value set that we think we hold onto here,” Daniels said.

Why Do Indiana Lawmakers Feel the Purdue Ban is Just Symbolic?

Indiana lawmakers legalized sports betting with the provision that bettors could make wagers on all of the state’s collegiate sporting events and legislators such as state senator Mark Messmer feels that the Purdue ban is “a very limited end run but with very limited ability to ever enforce it.”

With the belief that the casinos would never turn over betting data to universities, Messmer, a Purdue alum, said:

“It seems to me like more of a symbolic attempt from the Board of Trustees to make a statement to their faculty and students that they don’t want to see it happen. I don’t see it being a big infringement on the sports betting world.”

With Indiana booking over $35 million in sports bets over their first full month of wagering this September, the debate of how universities enforce their prohibitions could be legally challenged in the not too distant future.

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