NCAA creates task force to quell gambling concerns

Brand says any betting threatens game's integrity

Colleges

May 13, 2004|By Teddy Greenstein | Teddy Greenstein,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

CHICAGO -- NCAA president Myles Brand joined several colleagues here yesterday to discuss the findings of an NCAA-commissioned study that found significant levels of gambling among college athletes.

Brand also announced the formation of a 26-member task force that outgoing Notre Dame president Rev. Edward A. Malloy will head to examine the problem and offer solutions.

"We're trying to get ahead of the curve and make a difference," Malloy said. "This isn't responding to [scandals at] Kentucky, CCNY, Boston College, Northwestern."

Brand repeatedly said sports gambling threatens both the welfare of student-athletes and the integrity of the game.

While nearly 35 percent of male student-athletes surveyed said they had engaged in some type of sports betting over the past year, the more alarming numbers were these: 1.1 percent of football players said they had "taken money for playing poorly in a game" and 2.3 percent admitted they had been asked to affect the outcome of a game because of gambling debts.

In all, more than 49,000 student-athletes (out of 360,000) said they bet on college sports last year. The forms included NCAA basketball pools, parlay cards and wagers through a bookie or with a friend.

"With percentages like these, there is no college or university in the NCAA that can safely claim it does not have a gambling problem on campus," Brand said.

Current NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes, coaches and athletic department employees from betting on a college or professional sporting event, legally or illegally.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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