NCAA Updates Sports Betting Penalties

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Division I Council Coordinating Committee adjusted the penalties for student-athletes involved in sports betting, imposing a one-year suspension on those who bet on other teams at their own schools instead of permanent ineligibility.

The decision came just over a month after the Association of Collegiate Commissioners ordered the D1 Committee on Student-Athlete Recovery and the Legislative Committee “to review the legislation and enforcement of guidelines for the recovery of student-athletes who engage in sports betting.”

At the time, the NCAA appeared to be considering a three-strikes policy for those who don’t bet on their own teams, with the first strike resulting in education about sports betting rules and prevention, not forfeiture of competition time.

Instead, the D1 Council Coordinating Committee issued a one-year ban that also comes with a one-year ineligibility, preventing athletes from serving the suspension while in a redshirt season.

More than 40 student-athletes in several sports, including Iowa and Iowa State wrestling, have been involved in the state Division of Criminal Investigation’s sports gambling investigation.

In August, the University of Iowa announced that 11 current student-athletes were facing ineligibility. The news announcement came roughly three months after the school revealed that at least 26 student-athletes in five sports, including wrestling, were under investigation. The school has not released the identities of those involved or their punishments, citing privacy laws.

However, 174-pound All-American Nelson Brands of Iowa and 184-pound NCAA qualifier Abe Asad told The Des Moines Register at the team’s media day last month that they face suspensions from the NCAA.

The Hawkeyes opened the season Saturday night with a 40-0 win against California Baptist. Several returning starters were absent from the lineup.

“It was excruciating, that’s all I can really say,” Brands said. “You’re dealing with something that you don’t really know, and you kind of feel like you’re getting a bit of a pat on the back and you haven’t affected the integrity of the sport. Let’s hope things come to light, let’s hope things come and let’s hope the NCAA really has the welfare of the student-athlete in mind.”

While the NCAA provided clarity on penalties for student-athletes who bet on teams at their own institutions, details on the full impact on Iowa and Iowa State wrestling are still to come.

From NCAA.org:

The Division I Council Coordinating Committee on Wednesday adjusted guidelines for student-athlete refund cases in which student-athletes gamble on other teams at their own schools. An adjustment to the recovery guidelines was requested by the Conference Commissioners Association at the beginning of October and was supported as a concept by the Division I Council at its meeting on October 4.

Effective immediately, the reinstatement guidelines for student-athletes who bet on their school’s teams — other than their own team — will begin with a requirement of a one-season suspension and loss of one year of eligibility. Student-athletes will also be required to participate in sports betting rules and prevention training as a condition of reinstatement. The previous guidelines, approved in June, prescribed permanent inadmissibility for these cases. The revised guidelines may be applied to cases where student-athletes are currently serving suspensions related to betting on a different team at their own school that are reported on or after May 2, 2023.

“To be clear, Division I members do not encourage student-athletes to engage in sports betting at any level, and today’s action to change the terms of reimbursement should not be interpreted as an endorsement of gambling behavior,” John said Steinbrecher, Chairman of the Council Coordinating Committee and Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. “The members of the NCAA continue to prioritize the integrity of competition and believe that the terms of restitution for betting violations should reflect that focus and, where possible, also provide opportunities for preventative training.”

The adjustment to the refund guidelines is the first step in membership actions to overhaul the NCAA’s rules on sports betting more broadly. Under current NCAA rules, it remains ineligible for student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators to engage in sports betting in any NCAA-sponsored sport, including college and professional sports.

“The board agreed with the Division I commissioners that the conditions for reinstatement of betting violations in limited circumstances should be adjusted,” Steinbrecher said. “Member schools should fully examine the NCAA gambling legislation as a whole – especially in light of changes in recent years in federal and state laws – but the board agreed that no further changes should be made until potential changes are considered in the rules.’

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