Don’t bet on it — staff editorial

A bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate would ban gambling on college athletics, a move that would preserve the integrity of college sports.

Athletes would have much less temptation to entangle themselves in point-shaving and other illicit activities that are often solicited by unscrupulous individuals involved college sports wagering.

The bill, which could also end wagering on high school and Olympic sporting events, is aimed at reversing the growing trend of gambling’s deleterious influence on amateur athletics.

In college sports there exists a strong correlation between the rise in the popularity of betting and point-shaving – when players take money to ensure that their team doesn’t beat the point spread. The Arizona State and Northwestern university basketball teams have recently experienced point-shaving episodes.

A report by the National Gambling Impact Study showed that nearly half of male collegiate football and basketball players have bet on athletic events. Worse yet, five percent of the same group have directly taken part in gambling by either wagering on games in which they played, providing inside information on contests or taking money to perform poorly.

Moreover, student athletes shoulder a tremendous amount of pressure – beyond tuition scholarships – while reaping little financial benefit. Betting on college sports has become a big business, and athletes are often pawns of the gaming industry.

Banning wagering on amateur sports would remove the enticement of quick money for many college athletes. Perhaps some young lives can be saved from the disastrous effects of gambling.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.