The NCAA, under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Paskus, NCAA Principal Research Scientist, and Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Director International Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University, has released a report detailing the behavior and attitudes of male and female student-athletes on gambling.
The study, which is done every four years since its inception in 2004, was conducted by the NCAA to shed a light on the prevalence of gambling amongst its student athletes. The 2012 report is actually the third of its kind since its inception in 2004.
The most interesting revelation from the report is that gambling for money among male athletes is at 57%, nine percent less than the results from 2008. Meanwhile, female student-athletes stayed at the same 39 percent rate that it was four years ago.
Breaking it down by Division, male student-athletes from D-I schools also fell to 50 percent from 58 percent while those who gambled from D-II and D-III male student athletes also saw percentages drop to 56 percent from 67 percent and 65 percent from 73 percent, respectively.
What all this means is that there’s an actual decrease in the rate of gambling among male student-athletes, something the high and mighty NCAA must be gushing over.
“The decrease in the rate of gambling among male student-athletes is encouraging,” Rachel Newman Baker, the NCAA managing director of enforcement, told ESPN.
But percentages of student-athletes who gambled wasn’t the only thing interesting in the report; on the contrary, a number of the results contained in it caught our eye.
For one, technology seem to have infused a strong influence on gambling and has made it much easier for student-athletes to gamble. While betting with friends remain as the top method with 91.5 percent of the respondents saying they’ve done it in the past year, the interesting answer was betting through the Internet or through text messages, jumping to 33.7 percent in 2012 from 26.3 percent back in 2008. The percentages in text messaging, in particular, more than doubled to 20.5 percent compared to 9.4 percent four years ago.
Even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become tools for student-athletes (and outsiders, for that matter) to engage in dialogue regarding any inside information that the former could share to the latter. When asked whether they’ve been contacted by outside sources to share inside information about certain games, 4.6 percent of D-I football and basketball players reported to the affirmative, a 0.8 percent increase from the 2008 numbers. To be clear, only 0.8 percent of D-1 basketball players and a 0.3 percent of D-I football players claim to have provided inside information to outside sources.
Also curious is the relatively high percent of student-athletes, particularly female athletes from D-I schools (23.4 percent), posting certain information about his or her team on a social media site at the behest of their coaches. Almost one in four female student athletes from D-I schools have posted information on social media at the urging of their coaches.
As far as the one collegiate sport that still has a prevalence of gambling, that sport is golf.
According to the report, a number of findings have led to the perception that gambling is prevalent for student golfers, particularly men’s golfers with the report indicating that 24 percent of them have bet on teams at other colleges while 13 percent know a bookie. In addition, 10 percent have bet on another team at their school (football, basketball, etc.), seven percent of D-I men’s golfers have bet not their own team, and finally, and equally worrying, 2 percent have been harmed and/or threatened because of gambling.
So why is golf, more than football and basketball, the sport where there’s more gambling action taking place?
NCAA principal researcher and the primary author of the survey Tom Paskus postulates that it’s got something to do with culture, explaining that “it does seem to speak to some cultural issues in that sport that go beyond socio-economic status.”