In and around the NCAA, there have been over 180 sports-betting violations since 2018, some worse than others. In addition, there are several ongoing investigations following suspicious incidents. The most high-profile case as of late took place in May this year when Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon got axed amid an investigation sparked by alerts from sports betting integrity monitors relating to a game between Alabama and LSU. A surveillance video had caught Bohannon communicating with a punter at the sportsbook at Great American Ballpark.
The explosive growth of the online sports betting industry has caused headaches around the NCAA. The NCAA actively advocates and works with regulators and active US bookmakers from across the country to enact adequate provisions that protect student-athletes and the integrity of college sports. With several states considering legalizing sports betting, the NCAA is trying to work with lawmakers to influence pending legislation in each state.
Statement from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey just released pic.twitter.com/51IOa3Nkdh
— Nick Kelly (@_NickKelly) May 4, 2023
Earlier this summer, following the game where LSU Tigers beat Alabama Crimson Tide, the NCAA sharpened the rules relating to college sports and sports betting, mainly relating to the punishment of college athletes and staff found violating the rules. The harshest rule would apply to student-athletes who knowingly influence the outcomes of their own games or provide inside information to individuals involved in sports betting. Such activity could lead to a permanent ban from NCAA participation. Other rules relate to betting on other school’s games and betting in general, resulting in half-season bans or suspensions for education or eligibility to participate in games.
These new rules were implemented in June; four months on, there are talks about changing the penalties. This time, the NCAA plans to potentially lessen the rules relating to general wagering on sports and student-athletes who bet on games that don’t involve their own teams. The proposed changes would include:
- First-time offenders, no penalty or suspension, regardless of the dollar value or wagers placed on other sports at a student-athlete’s school; person to participate in education on sports wagering rules and prevention
- Second-time offenders, potential suspension, depending on dollar value and the nature of wagers
- Third or subsequent offense, losing an entire season of eligibility
These discussions are expected to end during October, with changes being implemented before the end of the year with potential retroactive effects on pending cases. At the same time, the NCAA is actively working for updated sports betting laws to better safeguard student-athletes, staff, and game officials from harassment and to improve integrity protection.