NCAA Drops Sports Betting Hammer, Highlighting Who Exactly Cannot Wager On College Sports

Written By Grant Lucas on August 5, 2019
NCAA sports betting rules

The new world of legalized sports betting has its first batch of NCAA goats.

The association announced in late July that two UNC Greensboro athletics staffers placed wagers in violation of NCAA rules. This includes bets made on games involving the Spartans’ men’s basketball team, according to a “negotiated resolution agreement” approved by the association’s Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

From the release:

“The university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the university failed to monitor and ensure compliance with NCAA rules when seven staff members did not initially report the activities of one of the two men, a women’s assistant basketball coach. The former assistant coach also violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he did not cooperate with the NCAA investigation.”

As a result, the school’s athletics department received three years of probation and a $15,000 fine, among several punishments handed down.

According to the NCAA, negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for future infractions cases.

Who got hit by the NCAA’s anti-sports betting ban?

While six staff members of the athletics department acknowledged they knew of colleagues making wagers, two employees made actual bets.

A former assistant coach for the women’s basketball team told investigators at the beginning of the process that “he placed an extensive number of online wagers on professional and college sports, including games involving the university’s men’s basketball team.”

The coach, however, “stopped participating,” according to the release, “after refusing to provide requested documentation.” That includes the history of his bets, so enforcement staff could not determine “the full extent” of his wagering activities.

Additionally, the former assistant director of UNC Greensboro’s fundraising organization was found to have wagered “small amounts” online on professional and college sports, including at least one bet on the Spartans’ men’s basketball team, which lost in the Southern Conference championship to fall just shy of the school’s first-ever string of back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament.

As noted, six athletics department employees knew of these bets. And all six failed to report the violations. A seventh staffer, according to the release, became aware of the transgressions but waited four months before coming forward. On top of that, the assistant director of compliance at the university “failed to take any legitimate investigative steps or report the activity” to the NCAA.

Penalties handed down

According to the release, Level I penalties from guidelines approved by the Division I membership were used to punish the university.

In addition to the three years of probation and $15,000 fine imposed on UNC Greensboro, the NCAA levied the following penalties:

  • A 15-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach
  • A four-year show-cause order for the former assistant director

NCAA cracks down on sports betting

Someone had to become the first, and it’s UNC Greensboro, which fell on the sword of the NCAA’s “new negotiated resolution process,” according to the release.

This process was used, per the release, because the university and enforcement staff agreed on violations and penalties.

As legalized sports betting spreads throughout the country following the repeal of PASPA in May 2018, the NCAA (long opposed to such legalization) slowly developed a committee and process to address any violations.

That said, exactly who comes into the scope of the NCAA’s committee comes to the forefront.

According to an association spokesperson, individuals who fall within four categories are prohibited from wagering on any sport or provide information to individuals who are involved with “sports wagering activities.”

  • Staff members of an institution’s athletics department
  • Nonathletics department staff members who have responsibilities within or over the athletics department (such as the chancellor or president or an individual to whom athletics reports
  • Staff members of a conference office
  • Student-athletes
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf.

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