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For the longest time, the NCAA has protected its thousands of student-athletes from the world of gambling, but now that every state in the U.S. is allowed to legalize, regulate, and tax their own sports betting market, it looks like they have finally switched their course.
Last month, the NCAA Division I Interpretations Committee announced their decision to allow any individual, program, or collective conference to offer statistics to sports betting companies, a move that almost seems like a moot point given that the info is already readily available.
This essentially means that as of April 27, players and team can sign deals with sportsbook operators, thereby basically eliminating the existing middlemen who provided statistics that help them create their odds and bets, and that could mean big money for both sides.
This could affect deals like the recent one made between the Mid-American Conference and Genius Sports, who could now potentially sell that sports data shared between them, a move that could act as a precedent for other major college sports conferences to follow.
It is an inevitable path that started years ago.
In 2020, the NCAA amended their legislation to allow its organizations to promote gambling by allowing operators to advertise at their athletic events, and since then big deals have been made between teams and sportsbooks in order to enhance the fans’ game experience.
For example, LSU, Michigan State, Colorado, and Maryland have all signed deals with sportsbook operators and that has opened the doors for other major schools to follow.
Student-athletes are also now able to sell rights to their name, image, and likeness, a move that has shifted the entire monetary game plan for universities, teams, and athletes alike.
With schools already making millions of dollars off their athletic programs for essentially the cost of the head coaches and scholarships they offer players, these changes are a long time coming and give these student-athletes a chance to make money from their extensive efforts, as well.
It’s a monetary game, and its rules have already been set by professionals.
The emerging sports betting industry in the U.S. is proving to be lucrative, and the NCAA wants to benefit from that ‘found’ money the same way the professional leagues and teams are, an understandable want given the billions of potential dollars at stake.
The need to protect student-athletes remains but using them to make money for the university while preventing them from doing the same seems outdated, and now the NCAA is finally giving those teams and players a little more wiggle room when it comes to that unfolding market.
How that affects those athletes, in the long run, remains to be seen, but the push to bring the college sports gambling scene into the open has become necessary since it is most likely not going away any time soon.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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