The NCAA wants more states to be like Ohio.
On Wednesday, the largest collegiate athletic governing body said it would begin advocating for state gaming regulators to pass rules ensuring student-athletes are safe from angry sports bettors.
The move comes as Ohio’s neighbor, Kentucky, became the country’s 35th state with sports betting. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also allow betting as well.
With sports betting becoming more common in the U.S., the threat of harassment to athletes rises too.
The threat of these incidents occurring is much higher in college athletics. The student-athletes are more accessible to the public and the student body.
For example, University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant appeared at an Ohio Casino Control Commission in January. He told regulators his players received abuse on social media from bettors following a loss.
Ohio will ban anyone who threatens athletes
Last July, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state’s 2024-2025 operating budget. Lawmakers included a provision in the budget allowing the OCCC to ban anyone from the Ohio sports betting industry if they were involved in threatening an athlete.
This law included both the professional and collegiate levels. So far, the Buckeye State is the only jurisdiction to implement this punishment for bettors.
However, the NCAA isn’t seeking this type of action across the country. In a press release, the NCAA wanted mandatory hotlines for reporting such behavior to law enforcement, increased penalties for anyone engaging in the action, and education for operators to help identify harassment.
“Some states have great policies on the books to protect student-athletes from harassment and coercion and to protect the integrity of the games,” said NCAA president Charlie Baker. “But as more states pass or amend laws, more needs to be done.”
NCAA takes a shot at Kentucky
Additionally, the NCAA wants all states to implement a requirement of all bettors to be at least 21. Kentucky’s recent launch allows bettors to be 18 to place wagers. However, some sportsbooks imposed that requirement themselves in a move that’s indicative of the recent wave of emphasis on responsible gambling.
A few other states have the 18-plus rule, including New Hampshire and Wyoming. But both states have a much smaller population than the Bluegrass State.
Lastly, the NCAA wants certain regulations imposed on advertising and revenue. Sports betting ads should include information about the harassment hotline. And part of any revenue generated from sports wagering to be allocated toward education to “support higher-risk college student population, including student-athletes.”
“We are in a time where student-athlete health and well-being is the main priority,” said the vice chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Morgyn Wynne. “With the legalization of sports betting, it is imperative that we take a proactive approach to protecting student-athletes from the potential of negative engagement with bettors.”