NCAA ‘drawing line’ on gambling, wants player prop bets banned

The NCAA wants states to ban player prop bets in college sports to protect both athletes and the “integrity of the game,” president Charlie Baker said Wednesday.

“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,” Baker said. “The NCAA has been working with states to deal with these threats and many are responding by banning college prop bets.”

Last week, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters he had been threatened by gamblers last season.

“They got my telephone number and were sending me crazy messages about where I live and my kids and all that stuff,” Bickerstaff said. “So it is a dangerous game and a fine line that we’re walking for sure.”

Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton said recently that gamblers reach out to him directly on social media about prop bets, which involve the performance of individual players and not the team.

“To half the world, I’m just helping them make money on DraftKings or whatever,” he said. “I’m a prop.”

And Baker said that isn’t right.

“This week we will be contacting officials across the country in states that still allow these bets and ask them to join Ohio, Vermont, Maryland and many others and remove college prop bets from all betting markets,” Baker said. “The NCAA is drawing the line on sports betting to protect student-athletes and to protect the integrity of the game.”

Wagering on college sports is a multi-billion industry. The American Gaming Association issued its projection last week that said Americans will legally bet $2.72 billion on the 2024 men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, equivalent to just 2.2 percent of the total amount of money legally wagered on sports in the U.S. in 2023.

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