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Worried that each state will have different laws governing wagering on collegiate sporting events, the NCAA is pushing senators for clearly defined federal legislation on wagering.
According to a report by ESPN, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney are working on a bipartisan bill that would specify and regulate sports betting on a federal level.
The NCAA wants a total ban on all collegiate sports betting across the nation, but that is unlikely to happen as most states have an unrestricted betting market on college-level events.
“We are absolutely supportive of federal regulation,” NCAA vice president of hearing operations Naima Stevenson Starks told ESPN.
“It’s fairly daunting to think that every state would have a different set of regulations. Having some minimum standards, we are very supportive of and have been an active proponent of.”
Some states have listened to the NCAA’s plea and made slight adjustments to their betting legislation, banning all wagering on in-state teams.
In New Jersey, for example, the state has outlawed in-state betting on colleges like Rutgers and Seton Hall that reside inside the state’s boundaries.
The NCAA has always taken the stance of a complete prohibition on gambling on their affiliated sporting events.
But once the Supreme Court decided to make sports betting legal, upon approval, in all 50 states, the NCAA realized that enacting prohibition could bring on a stiff legal challenge from any state.
“The Supreme Court, in its decision, has made it somewhat challenging for a complete carve-out on college athletics to not be something that would be legally challenged at the end of the day,” Starks said.
“Certainly, if there were the ability to have some kind of carve-out on college athletics altogether, that would be something that I know most would be supportive of.”
“Whether or not that would be something that the federal legislation that’s being proposed would do, given that states are already doing it, I think that might be a challenge for the bill potentially get passed, which is the ultimate goal,” Starks concluded.
With legalization just over a year old, the NCAA has taken several steps to assure the public and universities that their sporting events continue to stay legitimate in the face of a sports betting-friendly America.
The association has begun programs for student-athletes as well as officials to make sure both parties are acclimated to a world where an arena may have a sportsbook already inside of the facility.
Athletes have received education on the new landscape and allow schools have been required to show teams an education video outlining the latest changes and how to deal with sports betting on campus.
Another worry is student-athletes being approached for information about injuries, something that the NCAA does not require schools to report.
“We’re trying to help our student-athletes understand that, hey, when people from the general public reach out to you for that type of information, you cannot provide that,” said Kurt Hunsaker.
Hunsaker, the Asst. Athletic Director for Compliance at Iowa State University told all students at his campus that, “You need to stay out of that space.”
Until legislation is passed at the federal level, schools like Iowa State and the NCAA will continue to tread lightly through this new frontier of widespread sports betting.
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