Sports betting part of Baker’s first NCAA State of College Sports Address

NCAA Sports Betting
Image: Shutterstock / Keith J. Finks

The leader of a national governing body for college sports is continuing to address the growth of sports betting.

NCAA President Charlie Baker discussed the impact of sports betting on college athletics during his first State of College Sports address earlier this week at the NCAA Convention in Phoenix.

Baker, who assumed office in March 2023, is taking steps to improve the mental health of student-athletes as sports betting emerges as a topic of discussion regarding its implications.

“Sports betting is basically everywhere, especially on campuses, and the harm it can cause is real,” Baker told the more than 2,600 attendees at the convention. “Every conversation about the team, the competition, and the health and well-being of their teammates is not just chatter anymore but currency for some and inside information for others.”

Baker has addressed the impact of sports betting on college athletics in the past. Last November, Baker voiced his concerns on the legalization of college player props to CBS Sports. The former Massachusetts governor believes player props put amplified pressure on student-athletes. He also stated that college player props could negatively impact the integrity of amateur sports.

Markets that authorize college player props include Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio.

NCAA makes changes to sports betting rules

Last year, the NCAA changed its reinstatement guidelines regarding violations of wagering by student-athletes. The NCAA changed its guidelines following a slew of gambling-related incidents in college athletics, which have led to dismissals and players facing criminal charges.  

“We’ve already made huge strides in updating how the NCAA deals with sports betting,” continued Baker. “The penalties we had were outdated and too harsh on young people.”

Baker stated that the NCAA’s educational materials on sports betting were also outdated.

The NCAA will update its educational materials on sports betting with the help of America’s most popular professional sports league — the NFL. Baker announced that the NCAA is nearing a partnership with the NFL to educate NCAA coaches and student-athletes on sports betting and its challenges. Baker also intends to collaborate with lawmakers to improve educational tools.

The NCAA will continue to learn about the sports betting industry with a study in partnership with Signify Group. As part of the pact, the NCAA will leverage Signify’s AI-based technology to analyze online messages directed toward student-athletes on various social media platforms.