Baker addresses issue
NCAA President Charlie Baker used his first State of College Sports address to call out national sports betting penalties for student athletes as “too harsh.”
Baker was speaking at a NCAA Conference in Phoenix on Wednesday. The body later shared his acknowledgement of the “large, complicated problems” facing college sports via X:
According to an NCAA press release, Baker is no stranger to solving complex issues over his career in politics, but “fixing — and preserving — college athletics” is perhaps his biggest ever challenge. Central to this challenge is sports betting, which Baker stated is linked to the mental health of student athletes.
derided the educational materials provided by the national office as “outdated” and “ineffective”
Speaking to 2,600 NCAA members, Baker acknowledged that sports betting is everywhere, particularly on campuses. Along with labeling the penalties for student athletes caught betting as overly severe, he also derided the educational materials provided by the national office as “outdated” and “ineffective.”
Baker shared advice from his father Charles, 95, that the sports betting problem was “not going to fix itself,” before listing breakthroughs the NCAA had made in that area.
Baker stated the NCAA has “taken strides” to increase access to in-person educational forums and online resources to inform students about the complexities of sports betting. He also listed improved sports betting education and an upcoming NFL partnership as one of the ten significant accomplishments the NCCA has achieved since he took office in March 2023.
The NCAA boss highlighted the need to monitor harassment and online abuse of student athletes.
Baker also noted the “real” harm sports betting can have on college sports stars. “Every conversation about the team, the competition and the health and well-being of their teammates is not just chatter anymore but currency for some and inside information for others,” Baker stated.
He said he’d be reaching out to ex-colleagues from his years as governor to discuss collaborating on state legislation to protect players and the integrity of college sports.
The flip side
In contrast to the challenges facing the NCAA, Baker was all smiles when addressing the major hike in attendance of college games, viewership, and fan engagement.
more than 1 million new followers
He stated the NCAA’s social platforms have more than 1 million new followers, along with 4 billion impressions, and 263 million engagements, double last year’s figures. Baker believes the NCAA fan database can grow to 10 million by next January, with help from its partnership with sports technology firm KAGR.
He said: “With their help, we’re going to build one of the largest college sports fans databases in the country — and possibly the largest women’s sports fan database in the world.”
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