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NIL and sports betting affecting the NCAA

The growth of name, image, likeness (NIL) and sports betting has plunged the NCAA into deep waters that it doesn’t seem prepared to traverse.

turn college sports into a bidding war

NIL was implemented to afford student-athletes more opportunities to receive financial compensation and enjoy greater sovereignty than they were previously. What it has done, instead, is turn college sports into a bidding war and flood the transfer portal with many athletes that ultimately never escape it.

Add the confusion and unrelenting pressure of sports betting into the mix and the NCAA is in quite a precarious position. But just how did it find itself here?

Great power, great responsibility

NIL started back in the late 2000s when ex-UCLA men’s basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued over the NCAA’s refusal to compensate college athletes for revenues they produced in video games, broadcasts, and other areas. Prior to that, the NCAA was accused of being a money-hungry organization working against student-athletes.

The court ultimately sided with O’Bannon, which led to the creation of NIL laws in July 2021.

Rather than become the modest compensatory system that many believed it would be, NIL, spawned a money-hungry craze by student-athletes eager to recoup the maximum available to them for their presence and performance at various institutions. 

In 2022, top men’s college basketball transfer portal target Nijel Pack signed a two-year, $800,000 deal with LifeWallet as part of his transfer from Kansas State to the University of Miami. LifeWallet’s founder, Noberto Menéndez, is unsurprisingly a Miami graduate and one of the most generous NIL donors in college sports.

the greatest NIL value of current college athletes at $3.4m

On3, a website that covers college sports and NIL, lists reigning Heisman trophy winner and USC quarterback Caleb Williams as having a NIL value of $2.6m. Livvy Dunne, an LSU gymnast, has the greatest NIL value of current college athletes at $3.4m.

Naturally, that kind of money has made college sports and the athletes that participate in them volatile in their decision making. 

More than a fifth of FBS (football) starters in the 2021 season were transfers. On top of that, ESPN said that more than 6,000 college football players have entered the transfer portal since the start of the 2022 season. Unfortunately, close to half of those players will never find a new home. 

So, while the modern pool of players now has the financial opportunity that previous generations did not, it has come with a much greater risk.

Combating outside influence

Where the waters get even muddier is in the NCAA’s approach to handling sports betting. 

Sports betting is firmly “in” in America. The gambling industry recorded net revenue of $60.4bn in 2022, and a huge chunk of that came from sports betting proceeds. 37 states have legalized the growing form of entertainment, and states such as New York regularly draw over a billion dollars in monthly betting handle.

The NCAA has done its best to crack down on the interference of sports betting in college sports by strictly outlawing it in all forms for active players, staff, and team personnel. Those same members also cannot provide any sensitive information to outsiders that may be used to profit from sports wagering.

However, the NCAA allowed sportsbooks to team up with colleges, leading to Caesars sponsoring LSU and Michigan State and PointsBet installing an affiliate program at the University of Colorado. It wasn’t until the American Gaming Association (AGA) released a new set of standards that such partnerships were abandoned.

significant spike in online criticism

Angry gamblers have also become more vocal in criticism of players. University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant said earlier this year his players received a significant spike in online criticism after Ohio legalized sports betting at the turn of the year.

College sports are also naturally a massive draw. The AGA estimated $15.5bn would be wagered on March Madness 2023 alone.

There is a very real threat of sports betting disrupting the regular NCAA schedule. Earlier this week, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University announced investigations into team personnel over possible infractions of the rules.

The pressure is now on the NCAA to stop the hemorrhaging of integrity that has quickly burst before it’s too late. Otherwise, college sports will be changed forever.

The post OPINION: NCAA Losing Control Over Student-Athletes With NIL and Sports Betting appeared first on VegasSlotsOnline News.

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