NCAA Calls For Nationwide Player Prop Ban; Ohio Leads The Charge

Written By TJ McBride on March 28, 2024
NCAA Player Prop Ban Ohio

The NCAA is working toward a national ban on player prop bets for college athletics. 

This week, the NCAA stated that it would begin reaching out to officials in different states that have yet to ban NCAA prop betting. The goal is to estabish a collective front for protecting athletes and to eventually remove these wagers altogether.

This will have no effect on Ohio sports betting. The state already banned NCAA prop bets in late February, making Ohio a leader when it comes to college sports betting safeguards.

NCAA requests ban on college player prop betting

Usually, sports integrity and irresponsible gambling practices are the main concerns around sports betting. While regulators continue to weigh those issues heavily, player protection has become another worry, stimulating a recent push to ban NCAA player prop bets. 

The NCAA and lawmakers across the country are concerned with harassment coming from bettors being directed toward student-athletes. NCAA President Charlie Baker outlined these concerns during his announcement, saying:

“Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of competition and leading to student-athletes and professional athletes getting harassed.”

In order to address these concerns, the simple solution appears to be the best: do not allow wagers on individual players. As a result, student-athletes would not be targeted and harassed for falling short of an over/under line they had nothing to do with.

Ohio already banned college player prop bets in late February

To combat such harassment toward student-athletes, the NCAA submitted an official request to the Ohio Casino Control Commission to ban NCAA player prop bets on Jan. 31.

The request noted six main points:

  •     Harassment of student-athletes by bettors
  •     The mental health and general well-being of student-athletes
  •     Player-specific prop bets increase the risk of insider information being solicited to manipulate betting markets
  •     Player-specific prop bets will increase the risk of spot-fixing or match-fixers targeting student-athletes
  •     Player-specific prop bets offer college students, who are more prone to problem gambling, a mechanism for engaging in micro-betting

This appeal from the NCAA — supported by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine — received plenty of backing. Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler ruled in favor of the request, officially banning NCAA player prop bets soon after receiving the request.

Schuler said:

“I have determined that good cause supports the NCAA’s request to prohibit player-specific prop bets on intercollegiate athletics competitions because the NCAA’s request will safeguard the integrity of sports gaming and will be in the best interests of the public…The occurrences of and increase in the harassment of student-athletes based upon their performance or statistics in an intercollegiate athletics competition presents a clear and present danger to the best interests of Ohio.”

Schuler continued:

“Therefore, the prohibition is adopted and included in the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s approved catalog of sporting events and wager types. I am appreciative of the information that both the NCAA and Ohio’s licensed sports gaming operators provided during this process.”

According to Schuler, 2023 saw just under $105 million bets placed on NCAA player props. Compared to the $7.65 billion of sports betting handle in 2023, college player props are a tiny drop in the bucket.

With limited money and sleep lost over the ban and student-athletes being better protected, it became official without much issue. Ohio quickly implemented the new regulation, banning March Madness player prop betting and providing a precedent for other states to follow. 

Ohio one of three states to already ban NCAA prop bets

The Buckeye State may be leading the charge to ban NCAA player prop bets, but it is not alone. Vermont and Maryland have also done the same — and for the same reasons.

When Maryland banned these NCAA player prop bets in early March, the Maryland Gaming Agency made a statement that said this was being done to protect student-athletes.

“(This action) brings Maryland in line with other states that do not allow these wagers in the interests of protecting college athletes from harassment.”

When Vermont followed suit, it followed the same premise. Bettors can no longer wager on player prop bets, but team prop bets are still allowed for college sports according to the catalog. 

“Individual player proposition (prop) bets will not be allowed on any NCAA allowed game offered in Vermont. Proposition bets that cover the entire team will be allowed.”

Maryland, along with Ohio and other states, can alter their permitted sports betting wagers without the need for legislative action. That is why the push by the NCAA has been so successful and why these bans have happened so quickly.

Now, according to Baker, the NCAA is turning its attention to other states.

“The NCAA has been working with states to deal with these threats and many are responding by [banning] college prop bets. This week we will be contacting officials across the country in states that still allow these bets and ask them to join Ohio, Vermont, and Maryland and many other and remove college prop bets from all betting markets.”

There will likely be more that follow. A state like Colorado could be next considering it has already put grant funds toward a Kindbridge Research Institute program called the Colorado Athlete Wellbeing Program. The program helps student-athletes combat online abuse and maintain strong mental health.

Photo by Dreamstime / PlayMA
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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter who covers sports betting for PlayOhio. His work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports, among others.

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