By Ken Reed

Unlike their professional counterparts, most college football and basketball players aren’t making big money. While many college superstars are pulling in significant income from name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, most college role players receive little compensation for their efforts beyond tuition and room and board. As such, they are more vulnerable to gamblers making unscrupulous offers asking them to manipulate their individual stats to the gambler’s benefit.

Many major sports betting sites post prop bets on individual players. For example, over/under totals on a given player’s individual stats, such as points, rebounds and assists. These totals can easily be manipulated by the player.

“Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of competition and leading to student-athletes getting harassed,” says NCAA President Charlie Baker.

Baker has called for a ban on collegiate prop bets.

The NBA is investigating Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter over betting irregularities involving prop bets. While not knowing what’s involved in the Porter case, it’s more likely gamblers will target college players who might be struggling economically. The NBA minimum salary is $1.1 million for rookies and goes up from there for players with multiple years of experience. As such, in general, pro athletes are less likely to be open to the nefarious advances of big-time sports gamblers.

Another side effect of legal prop bets on college athletes’ performances is the the aggressive behavior of some sports bettors who lose a prop bet.

“It’s terrible,” says University of North Carolina star hoopster Armando Bacot.
“Even at the last game, I didn’t get enough rebounds or something. I thought I played pretty good last game, but I looked at my DMs and I got, like, over 100 messages from people telling me I sucked and stuff like that because I didn’t get enough rebounds. I think it’s definitely a little out of hand.”

Legalized sports gambling in this country is here to stay but it needs to be more closely controlled. Multiple actions need to be taken to better monitor and police the sports gambling industry.

Step one would be to ban individual athlete prop bets for college sporting events.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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