NCAA doesn’t like player props

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The NCAA did not come easily to sports betting. Now that they have, they continue to be worried that their young players could get wrapped up in trouble thanks to player props.

ncaa-doesnt-like-player-propsNaima Stevenson-Starks, the NCAA’s vice president for law, policy and governance, expressed her concern about college player props at the Sports Betting USA 2020 online seminar. She’s worried the integrity of games could become a problem if they get pressured into helping sway a bet.

“Unlike the professional leagues, we are now talking about student-athletes attending class with people who may be betting on their efforts on the field or the court,” Stevenson-Starks said. “That’s a concern. If you can think about missing a field goal or a free throw that might make the difference in a result, that’s not the most settling thought.”

The NFL previously faced the same problem, but the volume of action on pro games is much greater, Stevenson-Starks said. A DraftKings representative noted that college props are usually limited to team props. But other sites may offer a player prop from time to time, and internationally licensed books tend to offer more.

So far, states that have established licensed sports betting are setting their own rules. Cathy Judd-Stein, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said her state will look to protect “the safety of amateur athletes to protect them against exploitation.”

Ultimately though, the NCAA wants something federal. Stevenson-Starks thinks a nation-wide law “would be the most desirable,” he said. “I don’t think the momentum is there for that to be resurrected, but it is something that should be on the radar.” The state-by-state approach is more difficult for an institution like the NCAA.”

As discussed at another recent conference, outlawing wagers may push them into the black market, where they are harder to monitor and where it may actually be more dangerous for the players involved. Just because you don’t let U.S. books offer action on a market doesn’t mean someone else won’t. But that discussion hasn’t entered this equation yet.