Nov. 10, 2004
Some may not be aware of an initiative on behalf of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the NCAA regarding gambling. It is a campaign to make student-athletes aware of the danger of gambling in sports. The campaign is called “Don’t Bet On It”.
It is in response to the findings of an NCAA study that revealed a “disturbing” frequency of sports wagering among student-athletes. We thought it would be useful to provide some information on this issue. Supporters are likely to learn more about the initiative in the coming weeks. A part of the campaign involves coaches and student-athletes wearing blue wristbands as a reminder of sports wagering concerns.
A NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force in 2003 collected information nationally on sports wagering from a sample of student-athletes — more than 20,000 student-athletes across all divisions. Among the task force findings are:
Furthermore, the AFCA/NCAA cited four points regarding the significant repercussions of sports wagering:
Going back to the gambling scandal at the University of Kentucky in the early 1950s up to the more recent Northwestern University basketball scandal, collegiate sports gambling has been and is a concern on college campuses. Let me urge anyone who suspects this may be happening to contact the FBI or their local law enforcement agencies. They may also contact me personally or someone at this school.
Hopefully, we will not have that problem here. We certainly have no reason to believe anything like this is happening at our campus or within our conference.
Yet, as a quote from an FBI agent in the NCAA brochure said, if organized crime has an opportunity to make some money, they will be on your campus. Because of the various modes available for gambling, the NCAA and AFCA are working with due diligence to create an awareness program for our student-athletes and our coaches on the danger gambling presents to the integrity of sports.
If we ever get to the point that we can not depend on the integrity of the event’s result, then sports will deteriorate. That’s why he NCAA has very strict rules about gambling. That’s why we are prohibited from participating in office pools. While this may sound silly to some, it is necessary to draw a line in the sand about sports wagering and to be very clear about our position regarding gambling.
Terry Don Phillips
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