Standing its ground on classifying fantasy sports as gambling, NCAA Southeastern Conference (SEC) has cleaned up DFS ads off their network.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has confirmed that ads for the DFS sites will no long appear on the SEC network.
SEC Network, an ESPN-affiliated television network dedicated for college games and other content related, has been working since summer to phase out DFS ads.
“Is it [DFS] a form of gambling, is it a form of skill game, and I think there is some question about that,” Sankey told WVTM-TV. “And I think the appropriate place for us to land as a conference on the SEC Network, again working with ESPN, is not to include that advertising on the SEC Network moving forward.”
Sankey also noted that even if DFS games were fairly distinct from traditional sports betting, NCAA forbids sports gambling of any kind—even DFS—and prohibiting ads for fantasy sports is an “appropriate position for the league.”
The SEC isn’t the only conference to shy away from DFS ads as the Pac-12 has also said that it will not allow such commercials to air on their networks.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott revealed that the five major conferences—ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12—have sent a letter to DraftKings and FanDuel, urging the sites to cease offering their college games.
“The federal government has determined, for the moment, that it’s not gambling,” said Scott. “But the NCAA has taken a position that we can set the rules and we don’t support it. So that’s where we’ve drawn the line.”
Even some personalities on major media outlets that are strongly tied to the DFS industry have begun to speak out on some of the peculiarities of daily fantasy games.
On Thursday’s late-night airing of SportsCenter on ESPN, Scott Van Pelt used his “One Big Thing” segment to criticize daily fantasy sports, saying that it is, in fact, gambling.
“Let me ask you, if you deposit money someplace, and you can have more money in that account based on the outcome of points scored in a sporting event, where did you deposit your money?” Van Pelt asked. “A) a daily fantasy site, B) an offshore sportsbook, or C) all of the above? The answer is C.”
The candor with which Van Pelt talked about the issue surprised some observers because of the close relationship between ESPN and DraftKings, although he made it clear that he is “pro-daily fantasy,” he thinks that the “charade” of pretending DFS wasn’t gambling is silly.