The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has established a membership committee to address the expansion of legalized sports wagering. The move, said the association, reflects its continued commitment to student-athlete well-being and protecting the integrity of competition.

The Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering will examine the sports wagering landscape and its potential impact on current NCAA rules, educational efforts, player availability reporting, and any associated risks as more states legalize sports wagering.

“The NCAA and its members continue to take a thoughtful approach to the issue of sports wagering,” said G.P. Bud Peterson, chair of the board of governors and president of Georgia Tech. “The core values of protecting student-athlete well-being and the integrity of competition are at the heart of these efforts. We must continue to evolve and adapt our approach as the landscape continues to change and sports wagering expands in the United States.”

Current NCAA rules that prohibit sports wagering by student-athletes or athletics employees, including coaches and other individuals connected with athletics, remain in effect. Violations of any sports wagering rules remain subject to NCAA penalties. The committee will work with the national office staff, student-athletes and other organizations to build upon the NCAA’s existing efforts related to sports wagering rules, policy, research and education.

“Protecting our student-athletes through education related to gambling prevention is an important aspect of our efforts,” said Glen Jones, vice chair of the board and Henderson State president. “As the prevalence of legalized sports wagering continues to expand, we are focused on our responsibility as educators and administrators to equip student-athletes with the information and tools they need to understand the expanding sports wagering environment.”

The NCAA Sport Science Institute is also planning a Sports Wagering and Well-Being Summit in March, which will bring together sports wagering organizations and professionals specializing in mental health and wagering disorders. These experts will identify tools and initiatives the NCAA may develop to address issues of sports wagering and problem gambling in the college student population.

SBC Americas analysis

The NCAA’s decision to establish a committee dedicated to protecting the integrity and well-being of student athletes should be lauded. Although it does raise one obvious question: why now given that sports betting, albeit on an illegal footing, has been rife for so long? But with legal sports wagering now enjoying such an increasingly high media profile, the game has changed significantly, to the point where the association has clearly recognized the need to take positive action on behalf of its members.