Put Your Money on a Real Winner: Yourself
The following excerpts are from a sports wagering booklet released by the NCAA and the National Endowment for Financial Education: Don't Bet On It:
Sports Wagering: Don't Risk It!
Can sports gambling really wreck a college athlete's career? You bet it can!
Fact - Two former members of the Arizona State basketball team recently were convicted of sports bribery. One has been sentenced and received jail time; the other awaits sentencing. It started with one player, Stevin (Hedake) Smith, who sunk himself more than $10,000 in debt to a student bookie. To wash the debt, Smith agreed to shave points off a game. Smith then enlisted the help of a teammate to shave points off three more games. When more than $1 million in bets was placed on the games in Las Vegas, the FBI became suspicious. The setup was traced to organized crime in Chicago. Smith and his teammates were arrested and convicted of sports bribery.
Fact - Northwestern University basketball athlete Dion Lee was suspended from playing basketball in college and in 1998 was sentenced to one month in federal prison for wagering illegally and participating in a point shaving scheme. Lee's problems began when he became indebted to a student bookie. To pay off the bookie, Lee asked a school sports booster for a loan. When the booster reported Lee, he was removed from the team for several games. While he was sidelined, an individual in Chicago contacted Lee and cut a deal with him to shave points off future games and bring other teammates into the scheme. The setup was uncovered and several years later Lee pled guilty to sports bribery.
Fact - Even a "friendly" wager can have negative consequences. Several members of a women's soccer team at a Division I school participated in a sports pool to pick the winners of college sporting events. The women won the pool, which was worth a $50 gift certificate. When the school learned about their participation in the pool, the women were banned from two games. They were not allowed to accept the gift certificate and were required to perform 10 hours of community service.
Fact - If you place bets of any kind on any college or professional sport...or if you give information to anyone who uses that information to make a bet...You risk being:
- removed from your team
- expelled from college
- humiliated in news stories
- an embarrassment to your family and your team
- banished from professional sports
- a victim of bookies and organized crime
- ruined financially and perhaps even hurt physically
- turned down for future jobs
- sent to jail
NCAA Rules: No Sports Wagering Allowed
The NCAA is proud of you for becoming a college athlete. It is proud of our country's long tradition of college sports. It wants to protect your bright future and the integrity of sports. That's why NCAA rules prohibit sports gambling of any kind by college athletes, coaches, trainers, or anyone else involved with college sports.
As a college athlete, you must follow the rules of the NCAA. One of the rules, NCAA Bylaw 10.3, specifically prohibits sports gambling.
In clear, simple language, here's what the rule means:
- You may not place any bet on any sport on any college or professional sports event.
- You may not give information to anyone who does place bets on college or professional sports.
- NO wagers on ANY professional or college sports event, even those that don't involve your college.
- NO sports "pools," even those run by your friends in the dorm.
- NO Internet gambling on sports events.
- NO sports wagering using "800" numbers.
- NO exchange of information about your team with ANYONE who gambles. In other words, no information about injuries, new plays, team morale, discipline problems, or anything else.
NCAA rules are clear. The minute you are discovered to have made a bet of any kind on any college or professional sport...Or to have given information to someone who does gamble...You are declared ineligible to compete in college sports. You are off the team.
Then, it is up to your college to review your case and impose a penalty. The penalty could be a suspension from games or permanent removal from the team. Your college may (or may not) ask the NCAA to restore your eligibility. If your college wants you back on the team, the NCAA will review your case and decide whether to restore your eligibility or add penalties.
If your school doesn't want you back on the team, you risk losing your sports scholarship, being expelled from the school altogether, and/or being banned from other college and professional sports.
You also run the risk of being arrested and charged with a crime. That's because sports waging is illegal in every state except Nevada. Sports bribery is illegal in every state. And even in Nevada, it is against NCAA rules for a student-athlete to make any wager on a sports event.
Why is the NCAA So Tough on Sports Wagering?
Remember, sports wagering is not a victimless crime. Regardless of whether you see it, sports wagering often is backed by organized crime. Money skimmed from sports-betting schemes is used by these criminals to fund drug sales, to keep prostitution rings going, to bribe student-athletes, and to pay for many other illegal activities. Organized crime never plays by the rules. It plays to get rich- at any cost. When you bet, you risk becoming a partner in organized crime.
How to Stay Out of Trouble with Sports Wagering?
If your college buddies tempt you to place a sports bet, even a friendly one, walk away. If you've gambled before, stop now. If you need help quitting, call Gambler's Anonymous (see the business white pages of your telephone directory) or your state's council on problem and compulsive gambling (in the telephone directory's blue pages).
What To Do If...
- You suspect you are being approached by gambling interests...
- You think someone on the team is betting on sports...
- You are already in trouble with gamblers or gambling debts...
You will have to face the consequences, but your college, the NCAA, and the law will take into consideration the fact that you came forward on your own. If you try to hide the problem, you'll be in much worse trouble. Plus, you could risk your personal safety if organized crime is involved.
The only safe way out of the gambling trap is to admit you made a mistake and have the courage to get help.
Source: NCAA and the National Endowment for Financial Education
NCAA policy prohibits student-athlete's from participating in sports gambling. If you believe that you, a teammate, or a friend may be involved in sports gambling, please seek assistance. Do not put yourself, your team, or your school at risk.
Places for Assistance:
- Gamblers Anonymous:
- Write to: Gamblers Anonymous I.S.O., P.O. Box 17173, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Call: National Headquarters: (213) 386-8789
Indianapolis Hotline: (317) 382-4950
- IU Athletic Department, Compliance Office:
- Assembly Hall (Ian Rickerby, 856-6074)
- IU Health Center:
- Call: 855-4011
Counseling Services: 855-5711
- Arnie Wexler:
Mr. Wexler is a recovering compulsive gambler. He encourages calls from any students or athletes who believe that gambling is controlling their lives.