NCAA athletic programs are examining ways to be compensated for any increased compliance costs caused by the legalization of sports betting in some states.
On Thursday, representatives from Missouri, Rutgers and UConn participated in a conference call with Major League Baseball to consider options, including potentially creating a mechanism where a percentage of the amount wagered on events involving college teams would be funneled back to the schools. Major League Baseball, along with the NBA and PGA Tour, has been lobbying for similar fees to be paid to the professional leagues based on the amount wagered.
The professional leagues have asked for anywhere from 0.25 to 1 percent of the action bet on games and events, although states have been resistant to this point.
"I can confirm that a representative from UConn was present on yesterday's conference call," UConn athletic director David Benedict told ESPN in a statement. "It was beneficial to collaborate with peer and professional institutions as we prepare for what will result from the recent Supreme Court ruling."
Similar discussions were held last week in West Virginia, one of the states that has already passed a law to legalize sports betting. Marshall and West Virginia Universities participated in a meeting with the professional sports leagues, casino and state lottery officials. The schools expressed concerns over the potential added costs, which, by some estimates, could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for additional staffing and integrity services.
"The schools are concerned that they're going to be taking a lot of risk and are going to have increased compliance costs," said Tom McMillen, head of the Division I Athletic Directors Association. "A lot of these schools have not been in the loop on a lot of this. A lot of these discussions have been going on without the universities' input. These are the crown jewels of your states, and you can't set public policy on sports betting without involving your universities."
The United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection of 1992 on Monday, opening a path for states to legalize sports betting. Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey and West Virginia are expected to be among the first states to begin offering sports betting in the coming months.
The NCAA has staunchly opposed sports betting for decades over concerns that it would jeopardize the well-being of student-athletes. Unlike professional athletes, amateurs don't have the lofty salaries to help protect them from being compromised for gambling purposes. There have been a handful of point-shaving scandals in college basketball, most recently at the University of San Diego during the 2009-10 season. A former Toledo football player admitted in court that he fumbled intentionally in a 2005 bowl game for $500 as part of a gambling plot.
On Thursday, the NCAA announced that it was suspending its policy of prohibiting championship events to be hosted in states with legal sports betting. The NCAA also said it supported a federal framework be put in place for sports betting. In December, NCAA President Mark Emmert floated the idea of a carve-out that would ban betting on college sports.
The NCAA declined comment when reached by ESPN.
New Jersey's laws prohibit betting on games involving state schools, such as Rutgers and Seton Hall, as well as any sporting event hosted inside the state. Delaware has similar stipulations in place.
Nevada sportsbooks are allowed to accept wagers on games involving UNLV and the University of Nevada. Those schools do not receive any fees directly from the betting activity on their games.