NCAA Launches First E-Learning Module for Sports Betting

The NCAA has launched its first e-learning module on sports betting, designed to educate more than 500,000 current and future student-athletes about the harms of problem gambling and the risks that sports betting poses to the integrity of their games.

After receiving feedback from student-athletes and campus leaders, the NCAA engaged former college athletes, including an NFL player, to better connect with current student-athletes. Topics covered also include NCAA rules and bullying on social media.

“One of the first things I did when I took over as president of the NCAA was to gather as much information as I could about sports betting on college campuses. This educational resource is directly informed by this data. We believe this new program will help protect student-athletes from the risks that come with sports betting,” said NCAA President Charlie Baker. “The data is clear that athletes with first-hand experience are connecting with current student-athletes better than any other material we could develop, so we are extremely grateful for their participation in this effort.”

Last month, the NCAA released the findings of a survey of campus compliance directors about sports betting issues they encounter. Baker commissioned the study to gain a deeper understanding of the education that compliance officers provide on their campuses and how the NCAA can best support schools with improved educational initiatives, resources and tools.

Prior to the compliance study, Baker also commissioned a survey of 18- to 22-year-olds to better understand the prevalence of various sports betting and attitudes among student-athletes’ peers. This study found widespread sports betting activity among the target age population, with 58% participating in at least one sports betting activity. The survey also found that problem gambling exists among this population, with 16% having engaged in at least one risky behavior and 6% reporting losing more than $500 on sports betting in a single day.

Both studies were instrumental in the development process of the eLearning module and helped the national office identify key areas of focus to be included and highlighted.

“This is part of an ongoing plan to provide ongoing education and resources for student-athletes, prospective student-athletes, parents, coaches and administrators,” said Clint Hangebrauck, NCAA managing director of corporate risk management. “We are very grateful to industry experts such as the National Council on Problem Gambling, EPIC Risk Management and Dr. Jeff Derevenski for their contributions to this training. This will help members complement other educational programs, such as those provided by EPIC Risk Management to more than 20,000 student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

The module is a free, interactive tool that immerses the learner in an educational experience with helpful information, scenarios, questions and answers, and resources, all provided by former student-athletes, for student-athletes.

Zaire Franklin, the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts quarterback and former Syracuse football student-athlete and finance/marketing major, is starting the studies, followed by Mikala Hall, who played basketball and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan, and Joshua Butler, who played football and got an MBA from Sioux Falls.

“Sports betting has grown in our society and it is critical that athletes – at all levels – receive thorough education about the rules and risks of sports betting to protect themselves, their team, the sport, their mental health, their finances and their future,” Franklin said.

The NCAA is currently conducting a national survey of student-athlete gambling attitudes and behaviors. The association continues to work with industry experts, professional leagues like the NFL, mental health professionals, law enforcement and regulators to combat the harms of sports betting through comprehensive education, active surveillance and data-driven research.

The NCAA also recently undertook efforts to update state sports betting laws to combat student-athlete harassment related to sports betting.

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