Daily fantasy sports should exclude college athletes


Daily fantasy sports continue to pump out controversy on top of fat wallets.

Not that sports betting really ever went away — its been a huge point of contention since before the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal.

In all honesty, I’m not concerned with the new betting platforms regarding professional athletics.

Let the people wager their earnings, just tax and regulate it — it may even help economic growth, since it’s a billion-dollar industry and all.

Whoever found that legal loophole, I would imagine, sits on an iron throne.

I do, however, have an issue with betting on the college ranks.

If you aren’t aware, a handful of daily fantasy sports sites allow you to create teams with NCAA college basketball and football players while placing wagers.

In essence, anyone outside of the NCAA that meets the age requirements can bet on the athletes who aren’t getting a paycheck.

It’s a can of worms for the NCAA, as they continue to controversially not pay their players.

NCAA athletes aren’t allowed to compete in daily fantasy games, or they will lose a year of eligibility.

In fact, they recognize the industry as gambling publicly at a point of contention.

A lot of athletes, however, are willing to lose eligibility for a big payout.

According to the Washington Post, “A 2013 survey of student-athletes conducted by the NCAA found that 20 percent of college athletes participate in fantasy leagues with entry leagues and cash prizes, risking their eligibility in the process.”

It’s estimated there are over 460,000 NCAA student-athletes in the country, so at least 92,000 athletes gambled in 2013 alone — before the major increase in interest for daily fantasy sports.

How can the NCAA enforce athletes away from daily fantasy sports? You would need a fleet of regulators operating 24/7 to address the daunting challenge.

Not impossible, but unlikely.

It’s an issue that’s hard to enforce without getting personal information from the daily fantasy sports companies, who want to protect their loyal customers to a certain degree.

What’s stopping a classmate from putting money down and sharing the earnings with the athlete if they have a big game?

Interestingly, if you turned on your TV during the college football season, FanDuel and/or DraftKings advertisements were on your screen at some point during the season.

However, the NCAA doesn’t endorse the daily fantasy sports, and neither do most major conferences, and there’s been consensus to not run ads during tournaments.

That’s why there weren’t ads during the playoffs.

The New York Times offered the explanation, “The Playoff is managed by the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame, which is independent in football. While many conferences have expressed skepticism about daily fantasy sports, they have taken different positions on whether advertisements should be broadcast during conference games or on conference-owned cable networks.”

The Pac-12 and Big Ten networks are two of those networks that do associate themselves with the sites.

So, for the most part, the colleges and conferences voiced their concerns and have seen advertisements removed.

The NCAA is doing their best to confront the issue, but the daily fantasy sports sites are cashing in without regard.

They have requested that the sites stop allowing betting on fantasy and leave college sports out of the DFS craze.

Hopefully, with the cooperation between the NCAA and daily fantasy sports site, a resolution can soon be administered.

Jordan Morey is the sports editor for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].

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