Feb. 19, 2003

The NCAA and The Ohio State University oppose all forms of sports wagering. Placing bets on the outcome of sporting events undermines the purpose and spirit of athletics. Intercollegiate student-athletes step onto the playing field having one purpose, one goal: to be the ultimate victor. Sports wagering demeans the competitors and the competition itself by sending a message that is contrary to the meaning of sports. According to the NCAA, “sport competition should be appreciated for the inherent benefits related to participation of student-athletes, coaches, and institutions in fair contests, not the amount of money wagered on the outcome of the competition.” The NCAA defines gambling in the following way:

NCAA Bylaw 10.3: Gambling Activities
Staff members of a member conference, staff members of the athletics department of a member institution and student-athletes shall not knowingly:
a) Provide information to individuals involved in organized gambling activities concerning intercollegiate athletics competition;
b) Solicit a bet on any intercollegiate team;
c) Accept a bet on any team representing the institution;
d) Solicit or accept a bet on any intercollegiate competition for any item (e.g., cash, shirt, dinner) that has tangible value; or
e) Participate in any gambling activity that involves intercollegiate athletics or professional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card or any other method employed by organized gambling.

Why is the NCAA so concerned about gambling? Gambling has developed a pervasive influence on college campuses. According to the NCAA, the FBI projected that 2.5 billion dollars was illegally gambled on the 1995 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, second only to the National Football League’s Super Bowl. Wagering on intercollegiate athletics is assisted by the accessibility of the Internet, which allows the public to find information about student-athletes’ athletic status, eligibility status, and performance during practice, rendering them easy targets for gamblers. This information also assists bookmakers in setting point spreads. The stakes involved can also lead to attempts to influence student-athletes. For example, a student-athlete may be approached to affect the outcome of the game (e.g., point-shaving). When student-athletes participate in any of the activities viewed as impermissible according to NCAA Bylaw 10.3, they jeopardize their athletic eligibility and possibly their welfare. The following sanctions will be imposed on student-athletes found violating NCAA Bylaw 10.3:

A student-athlete shall permanently lose all eligibility in all sports, if the student-athlete:

Engages in activities designed to influence the outcome of anintercollegiate contest, or Affects the win-loss margins (i.e.,”point shaving”), or Solicits or accepts a bet or participates inany gambling activity through a bookmaker, a parlay card or anyother method employed by organized gambling that involves wageringon the student-athlete’s institution.

A student-athlete shall be ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition for a minimum of one year from the date of the institution’s determination of the violation, if the student-athlete:

Solicits or accepts a bet or participates in any gamblingactivities that involves intercollegiate athletics orprofessional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card orany other method employed by organized gambling.

Below are some questions and answers to provide practical examples of gambling activities and the prohibitions of NCAA Bylaw 10.3:

Q: May a student-athlete place a wager on any sporting event at OSU?
A: No, student-athletes, coaches, or other staff members of the athletic department shall not knowingly solicit or accept a bet on any varsity team representing OSU. This regulation prohibits even informal bets that may occur between student-athletes, such as a “friendly bet” on Ohio State’s next baseball game. It is also impermissible for student-athletes to place bets on another university’s games. For example, it would be an NCAA violation for two OSU student-athletes to bet on the Duke vs. University of North Carolina basketball game.

Q: May a student-athlete solicit or accept a bet on any professional sports team?
A: No, student-athletes are also prohibited from participating in any gambling activity associated with professional sports. Therefore, it would be impermissible for any student-athlete to bet on the outcome of a Cleveland Browns game or a Columbus Blue Jackets game. It would also be impermissible for student-athletes to bet amongst themselves at a sporting event party, such as a Super Bowl party that gives a prize for the person who comes closest to guessing the game’s final score.

Q: May a student-athlete ask another individual to place a bet for him?
A: No, if a student-athlete asked another individual to place bets for him it would constitute an NCAA violation. Even though he may not be personally betting, he is intricately involved and, therefore, guilty of violating NCAA rules. Additionally, a student-athlete may not provide information for another individual to use to place a bet.

Q: May student-athletes place bets on the Internet?
A: No, student-athletes are prohibited from gambling on the Internet. It is an NCAA violation and it is also illegal. Even if the bet is a small amount, it constitutes gambling and is impermissible.

Q: May student-athletes participate in pools for the NCAA March Madness Tournament?
A: No, student-athletes are not permitted to participate in any March Madness contests, regardless of whether Ohio State participates in the NCAA tournament. This is a form of gambling because it involves intercollegiate athletics.

Q: Are fantasy leagues considered gambling activities under NCAA legislation?
A: Yes, fantasy leagues (e.g., football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, etc.) involve teams comprised of real athletes. Therefore, fantasy leagues that involve the exchange of money, prizes, or any other tangible item of value are impermissible gambling activities. However, if it is free to enter the fantasy league and no money, prizes or tangible items of value are exchanged, then it would be permissible for a student-athlete to participate.

Please remember that the above information provides a brief overview of the compliance issues concerning gambling and sports wagering and is not an exhaustive discussion. For questions or to receive more information, please contact Heather Lyke, Associate Athletics Director for Compliance at (614) 292-2681.