Naima Stevenson Starks, VP Law, Policy and Governance, NCAA spoke at Sports Betting USA last week where she warned that college sports prop bets put the safety of individual athletes in jeopardy.
“There doesn’t seem to be a high level of that activity on college athletics… but I do think that is one of the areas where I know our member institutions are keenly aware of that and hopefully having various conversations with their state regulators,” Starks said.
Earlier this year, Benjamin Pucker Tatz, a professional sports gambler, was charged with sending threatening messages to individual college athletes who he blamed for lost bets.
After a University of Arizona basketball player performed poorly in a contest last December, Tatz reportedly messaged the athlete, “Your worthlessness cost me 100,000$ tonight! Sad!!.”
Starks said that as more states legalize sports wagering, the access to athletes increases.
“Unlike the professional leagues and those athletes, you are now talking about student athletes sitting in class with people who might potentially be betting on their efforts on the field or on the court,” Starks said.
Legalized sportsbooks do not usually post prop bets on college sports contests.
Though NCAA has maintained a strict policy against sports wagering for athletes, coaches and administrators, the organization has been more willing to schedule events in proximity to casinos in recent years.
Multiple college basketball conference tournaments take place in Las Vegas each fall, and the NCAA recently awarded Las Vegas several postseason tournaments.
Later this month 40 college basketball teams will compete in a ‘bubble’ inside the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Connecticut.