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NCAA rolls out first sports wagering e-learning module

| By Robert Fletcher
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has launched its first sports wagering e-learning module to educate student-athletes about gambling-related harm.
NCAA sports wagering

The free-to-access NCAA module features information, scenarios, Q&As and resources on the risks sports wagering poses to student-athletes. The NCAA collaborated with current and former college athletes, as well as campus leaders, to develop the interactive module.

The module covers key topics on problem gambling and sporting integrity, in addition to NCAA rules and social media harassment.

Current NFL player and former Syracuse football student-athlete, Zaire Franklin, is among those who deliver sessions in the module. Mikala Hall, who played basketball and studied at Central Michigan, and Joshua Butler, who played football at Sioux Falls, also feature.

“Sports wagering has exploded in our society,” Franklin said. “It is extremely important for athletes – at all levels – to receive thorough education on the rules and risks of sports betting to help protect themselves, their team, sport, mental health, finances and future.”

Long-term commitment to responsible gambling

NCAA president Charlie Baker said the module forms part of a longer-term plan to address problem gambling across US colleges.

“One of the first things I did when I took over as NCAA president was gather as much information as possible about sports betting on college campuses,” Baker said. “This educational resource is directly informed by that data.

“We believe this new programme will help protect student-athletes from the risks that come with sports wagering. The data is clear that athletes with first-hand experiences connect with current student-athletes better than any other material we could develop. We are incredibly grateful for their participation in this effort.”

Clint Hangebrauck, managing director of enterprise risk management at the NCAA, added: “This is one piece of an ongoing plan to provide continuous education and resources for student-athletes, prospective student-athletes, parents, coaches and administrators.”

NCAA calls for new sports wagering laws to protect student-athletes

The new module comes after the NCAA last week issued a call for states to update existing laws and regulations. This, it says, will offer greater protection to student-athletes from gambling harm and the integrity of its competitions.

Some 38 states have passed laws legalising sports betting since PASPA was repealed in 2018. While some contain protection and integrity provisions to protect its players, others do not.

As such, the NCAA is advocating for improved laws and has developed new model legislative provisions it recommends states pass. The organisation says it will work with lawmakers in states seeking to legalise wagering to ensure provisions feature in legislation.

Among the proposals put forward is a mandatory reporting hotline for gambling authorities to report harassment or coercive behaviour to law enforcement. The NCAA is also calling for increased penalties for bettors who harass student-athletes and mandatory education for operators to identify harassment.

The NCAA also wants regulations to identify prohibited bettors and to stop individuals younger than 21 from wagering on sports. In terms of betting advertising, ads should include information about the hotline, problem gambling and prohibitions on harassment.

Could student reinstatement guidelines be eased?

In other news, the NCAA Division I Council will re-examine guidelines for reinstating student-athletes that engage in sports betting.

Current reinstatement guidelines were reviewed by the council and Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement and Legislative Committee following recent modifications. This was requested following recent reinstatement cases to ensure NCAA members think about penalties that reflect the current wagering environment.

The committees will consider the penalties for student-athletes who participate in sports wagering, but not on their own teams. The Council said significant penalties will remain for those players who bet on their own team.

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