The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

No fantasy sports for student-athletes

An NCAA brochure intended for student-athletes quotes Stevin Smith, a former student-athlete who went to prison for point-shaving in 1997: “Play the game; don’t let the game play you.”

An NCAA rule states that anyone with responsibility in an athletics department — such as student-athletes, coaches and conference office staff members — may not place a bet on any sporting event. This includes amateur or professional games, fantasy leagues, sports pools or March Madness.

“This particular rule is very hard to monitor,” said Steve Kirschner, senior associate athletic director for communications. “It’s very easy to play these games without using their real names.”

According to the NCAA website, sports wagering is considered anything that requires an entry fee and offers an opportunity for winning a prize — which can include fantasy sports competitions.

The NCAA says it established rules to prevent sports wagering because the gambling compromises game integrity and “also is an entry point into other behaviors that may compromise student-athlete health and well-being.”

“The rule kind of makes sense, because if you play in a league with all the boosters, then it could be a way to pay the student-athletes,” first-year Trent Martensen said.

Student-athletes who violate the rule face ineligibility. Violators cannot play at any NCAA school for a minimum of one year for offenses such as betting via the internet or a third party. Attempting to influence the outcome of any game or betting on any game at the athlete’s own school can lead to permanent ineligibility.

Kirschner said concern about the topic is a recent one.

“I’ve just started hearing and reading about it in the last couple of weeks,” he said.

Senior Becky Sukhu said the rule sounded unreasonable.

“It makes sense for them not to gamble on collegiate games they play in, but not professional games that they can’t control,” she said.

The NCAA informs student-athletes of the no-gambling rule through its “Don’t Bet on It” program, meant to increase awareness of consequences of sports wagering.

Coaches have access to the program through online presentations and are provided with resources about how to deal with athletes who are caught gambling.

“I think this is an example of the NCAA making arbitrary restrictions to student-athletes,” senior Arvind Krishnamurthy said.

“If I made a dope mixtape and started selling T-shirts with my face on it, that would be the same as someone wearing a No. 5 basketball jersey, but Marcus Paige wouldn’t get any money. UNC would get money, Nike would get money, but not Marcus Paige, just because the NCAA said so.”


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