NCAA President Charlie Baker Changes Sports Betting Opinion

Posted on: June 12, 2024, 10:33h. 

Last updated on: June 12, 2024, 10:33h.

NCAA President Charlie Baker signed Massachusetts’ sports betting bill into law when he was governor of the Bay State in August 2022. Less than two years later, along with a new job, Baker now regrets the vast expansion of legal sports gambling across the United States.

NCAA President Charlie Baker sports betting
NCAA President Charlie Baker (R) is interviewed by ESPN during the College Football Playoff in December 2023. Baker is backtracking his support for legal sports betting after signing a sports betting bill into law while governor of Massachusetts. (Image: AP)

After fulfilling two four-year terms in Massachusetts, Baker was appointed the National Collegiate Athletic Association president in December 2022 and assumed the position in March 2023. Baker was initially supportive of college sports betting, as such gambling has been credited for increased television ratings, fan engagement and interest, and subsequent revenue for the governing body of college sports.

The NCAA leader, however, has repeatedly taken issue with legal, regulated sportsbooks offering player props involving student-athletes. Such wagers deal with an individual player’s performance.

Props Scorned by NCAA Boss 

Baker believes props make players susceptible to harassment from unruly bettors and could jeopardize the integrity of the NCAA’s competitions. Speaking recently with Bryan Fischer of FOX Sports, Baker said the quick and vast expansion of legal sports gambling in the U.S. might not have been in the best interests of college sports and student-athletes.

I wish sports betting had just stayed in Las Vegas,” Baker declared in rather surprising comments.

Before the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 violated anti-commandeering interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, single-game sports betting was limited to Nevada. Other states like Delaware had parlay sports betting that required bettors to bet on multiple games through a single wager.

The landmark decision gave states the right to decide their laws on sports gambling. Six years later, 38 states, plus Washington, D.C., have passed laws authorizing some form of sports betting. Thirty of those states and the nation’s capital allow online betting.

While many states have banned or amended their sports betting regulations to prohibit player props on college sports, the lines remain in several jurisdictions. It’s Baker’s most worrisome component of the ongoing expansion of the legal college sports gambling industry.

It all has to stop,” Baker declared. “So far, we’ve managed to work with four states to shut down prop betting on college sports.” Those states include Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana, and Vermont.

Player props on college athletes remain allowed in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The prop permissions in Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey do not allow prop bets on college athletes playing for schools based in those states.

NCAA Settlement

Last month, the NCAA and the power conferences — the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 — announced a settlement that resolved three federal antitrust cases.

The agreement will allow schools to directly compensate their student-athletes with more than scholarship money. The NCAA will additionally pay former athletes nearly $2.8 billion in back damages.

Beginning in 2025, universities will be allowed to pay up to $20 million a year to college athletes. The governing body said the settlement is “a road map for college sports leaders” to “ensure this uniquely American institution can continue to provide unmatched opportunity for millions of students.”

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