Supreme court ruling to affect college athletics
Legal sports gambling could be coming back to Florida for the first time since 1992.
The Supreme Court struck down a federal law that once prohibited sports gambling Monday, which now gives states the freedom to choose whether it wants to legalize sports betting.
Though sports betting is not guaranteed to pass in Florida immediately — the state Legislature is not in session until next year — experts from ESPN.com predict that by 2020 all states will have legal sports gambling, with Utah, a state that banned all forms of gambling in its constitution, being the lone exception.
With legal sports gambling in Florida likely, eventually any adult will be able to place bets on USF athletics’ sporting events.
The NCAA’s concern with this is that the betting might not be exclusively to fans and could, in some cases, trickle into student-athlete gambling or bribery.
USF athletics could not be reached for comment about the supreme court decision by the time of publication at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The AAC said an official statement would be released later this week or next week.
The NCAA’s concerns are not baseless.
Results of a 2012 study commissioned by the NCAA found that 57 percent of male student-athletes and 39 percent of female student-athletes reported gambling in some form during the past year.
Point shaving, a type of match fixing where perpetrators try to prevent a team from covering a published point spread, has been an issue specifically in college basketball for years.
On the NCAA’s website, it says: “The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering, which has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community.”
While the governing body has, for years, vehemently fought against sports betting, it’s statement after Monday’s decision didn’t reveal its vast opposition to the practice in years past.
“While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court,” the statement read.
Though the statement neither indicated if the NCAA was for or against the decision, the amount of additional revenue sports betting could bring to it is astounding, according to Mark Cuban, a businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
“It makes the value of a team double, at least,” Cuban told CNBC in regard to the supreme court decision. “I think this is something that benefits everybody even generally associated with sports.”
In his interview with CNBC, Cuban elaborated, saying the decision will allow all sporting events to be, “more interesting and fun for all fans” as they become more invested into games.
Some schools in states which are predicted to pass legislation legalizing sports betting are already preparing for profiting off of the practice. According to David Purdum of ESPN.com, West Virginia and Marshall already have agreements in place that will enable them to receive “a cut of sports betting.”
West Virginia and Marshall would be the first two schools to have an agreement directly with a sports book. USF and Florida as a whole could reap the same benefits in the future when the state officially legalizes gambling.
“Florida is uniquely positioned to take advantage of sports betting,’’ Marc Dunbar, an attorney at Jones Walker in Tallahassee, which represents several gaming interests, said.
“This ruling specifically benefits destination states like Florida and could result in a significant boon for the state’s tourism economy.”