- The National Collegiate Athletic Association has long been against sports betting
- When the sports betting ban ended, the NCAA did not join other sports bodies in looking for a slice of the action
- However, an NCAA rule that referees have not been implementing is affecting sports betting
- After an outcry, there will now be reviews of buzzer scores that don’t affect the final result
NCAA’s historical sports betting stance
The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) is the leading governing body for college sports in the United States. It has historically been opposed to gambling. For many years, it was involved in the efforts to prevent sports betting from becoming legal in the country, along with the country’s major sports leagues.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting. While the other major sports leagues that had opposed sports betting for many years admitted defeat and began to embrace it, the NCAA kept its distance.
Not seeking integrity fees
The organization was quick to say that it was not seeking integrity fees as other major sports organizations were.
While some states have considered not allowing betting on college sports, most of those with sportsbooks offer college sports betting. New Jersey, though, does not allow sports bets on college games involving teams from the state or other college events taking place in New Jersey.
The NCAA does not want to have the burden of developing systems to monitor their games even more closely than is currently done. The organization was hoping that the individual schools would take this responsibility upon themselves.
Talking about this stance, the NCAA’s senior vice president and CFO, Kathleen McNeely says: “We will not be going after any gambling revenue. We know it will cost money to monitor, but (association president) Mark Emmert has been pretty firm in saying he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for the NCAA to try to access that revenue.”
Stance of other major sports leagues
The other major sports leagues have embraced sports betting since it became legal. They prefer to get their slice of the action rather than continue to rally against it. The NBA, PGA Tour, and MLB were pushing strongly for integrity fees. Those fees would represent a cut of each sports bet that would go to the supervising league for that event.
In theory, the money would go towards systems to maintain the integrity of their sports. However, these systems were still needed when sports betting was not legal because the illegal market was significant.
Initially, the leagues were looking for these fees to be as high as 2% for each bet. However, no state has included an integrity fee in its sports betting legislation. There are still states considering the introduction of such a fee, now in the range of 0.25% to 1% of each wager.
Some leagues are also looking at ways they can monetize their live data to sportsbooks. All of the four major sports leagues now have significant gaming partners on board.
Some buzzer shots beat the spread
While the NCAA will not be looking for integrity fees soon, the organization may have to start doing something as concerns are beginning to rise. In some recent basketball games, shots were made right at the buzzer signaling the end of a game. When such a shot didn’t affect the outcome of the game, officials didn’t review it, but sometimes it meant that a given team would cover the spread.
In the interest of integrity, the NCAA has announced that all scores in its season-ending championship tournament will be reviewed, even those that seem meaningless. This will be “in the interest of accuracy of score and team and player statistics and even if the outcome of the game isn’t riding on the officials’ call.”
A rule is already in place, but officials have not been implementing it. Now, with the spotlight on the issue as never before because of legal sports betting, the NCAA is hardening its stance on the execution of this rule. College sports bettors will be rejoicing.