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NCAA official worried about game safety, integrity regarding player prop bets

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2-min read

While sports betting is rapidly growing in popularity in the United States, one NCAA official issued a warning on Thursday about how far wagering should be allowed at the collegiate level.

NCAA vice president for law, policy and governance Naima Stevenson-Starks is worried that betting on individual player performances — or prop bets — could create significant issues throughout the college sports world.

A prop bet, for example, could be placed on how many yards a quarterback throws for during a single game, or how many points a basketball player scores in a single game.

“Unlike the professional leagues, we are now talking about student-athletes attending class with people who may be betting on their efforts on the field or the court,” Stevenson-Starks said at the Sports Betting USA 2020 online seminar, via the Associated Press. “That's a concern. If you can think about missing a field goal or a free throw that might make the difference in a result, that's not the most settling thought.”

The NCAA logo is seen on the wall prior to an NCAA men's basketball game on March 6, 2020. NCAA officials are concerned about potential player prop bets in college sports. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The NCAA logo is seen on the wall prior to an NCAA men's basketball game on March 6, 2020. NCAA officials are concerned about potential player prop bets in college sports. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Sports betting rapidly expanding in United States

Three new states — Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota — all approved measures last week to legalize sports betting, meaning there are now 25 states in the country where fans can either legally bet on games or will be able to in the near future.

That number is sure to grow, too.

How fans are able to bet on sports, however, differs from state to state and sport to sport. Many sports books don’t offer player props for college games yet, either.

BetMGM didn’t offer any individual player props for college football games this week. According to the Associated Press, DraftKings and The Golden Nugget didn’t offer any either, though FanDuel did offer one player prop for Thursday’s Colorado State-Boise State game.

While the individual approach makes it hard for the NCAA to manage, Stevenson-Starks doesn’t see a national ruling coming anytime soon.

“[A federal law] would be the most desirable,” she said, via the Associated Press. “I don’t think the momentum is there for that to be resurrected, but it is something that should be on the radar. The state-by-state approach is more difficult for an institution like the NCAA.”

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