AGA Puts Heat on NCAA

5 April 2001
The NCAA is adamantly insistent on maintaining a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to wagering in any facet on college sports. But, are the schools belonging to the NCAA on the same page?

According to a recent news release issued by the American Gaming Association (AGA), the national trade association for the American casino industry, the answer is "no."

The NCAA is the chief backer of a legislative push on Capitol Hill to outlaw the accepting of wagers in Nevada on college sports, but the AGA points out that the schools themselves aren't exactly helping the cause.

On Saturday , the Association released the results of an informal poll indicating that the student newspapers of all 65 universities qualifying for the NCAA basketball tournament either take or would run advertising for Internet gambling sites. The poll, conducted by National Media, an Alexandria, Va.-based media placement firm, also found that all 11 schools that have members on the NCAA Division I board of directors would also run the advertising.

Among the schools polled were Penn State, Michigan State, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, University of Kansas, University of Arizona, Duke University, Notre Dame, Indiana University, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, Boston College, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tennessee.

"The NCAA is attempting to stop legal, regulated gaming on NCAA sports in Nevada, under the guise of preventing illegal gambling on college campuses sometimes thousands of miles away," AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. said. "Not only are these college campus newspapers promoting illegal gambling, they are also profiting from it."

Fahrenkopf also pointed out that while underage students have access to Internet sites, most students at these universities cannot gamble legally in Nevada, where you must be 21 years old and physically present to wager with sportsbooks.

In conducting the poll, National Media contacted, by phone, the advertising departments of the schools to determine if the newspapers would sell advertising space to Internet gambling sites. Not one said they would not and all quoted the cost of running the ads.

"When college students can gamble right in their own dorm rooms through hundreds of off-shore Internet gambling sites, it's no wonder that illegal sports gambling is so widespread on college campuses," Fahrenkopf said. "Illegal sports gambling will continue to be a problem in colleges and universities until the NCAA and its member schools focus their attention on stopping illegal sports gambling where it starts, on the campuses."

The NCAA is advocating a federal ban on legal college sports wagering in Nevada that the AGA argues would do nothing to eliminate the widespread illegal gambling occurring on college campuses and elsewhere in the country. In contrast, the gaming industry is supporting comprehensive federal legislation offered by the Nevada Congressional delegation that would increase enforcement and penalties, evaluate the extent and causes of illegal gambling, and require schools to put in place education programs for their students.