NCAA president: prop betting on college athletes ‘enormously problematic’

GLENDALE, Ariz. — NCAA President Charlie Baker has already been pushing for states with legal wagering to ban betting on individual performances for college athletes.

Yet he’s getting constant reminders of how pervasive it has become and how big of a challenge it will be to manage — even during the high point of a women’s Final Four featuring Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark that generated huge TV ratings.


“Did any of you notice how much time is spent on cable TV about Caitlin Clark’s prop performance in the first game, and leading into the second game?” Baker told reporters Monday night, shortly before the NCAA men’s championship game between UConn and Purdue.

“Is that really what we should be talking about in the middle of a women’s Final Four?”

Baker had posted a statement on social media during the middle of March Madness expressing concerns about threats to the integrity of competition and harassment of athletes by bettors angry with their results. Shortly before the final game of the men’s basketball season, Baker called prop betting “enormously problematic” for college athletes and highlighted a successful push to get some states like Ohio, Vermont and Maryland to remove prop betting on college athletes online and in sports books. He also noted there’s a long way to go to get a hold of the issue.

“We’re kind of in the top of the first inning on this one,” Baker said. “And I think it’s really important for us to recognize this is going to be a challenging issue.”

Stories of athletes being harassed for betting-related issues popped up numerous times during the NCAA Tournament, such as from North Carolina big man Armando Bacot.

“I thought I played pretty good last game,” Bacot said before a Sweet 16 loss to Alabama. “But I looked at my DMs, and I got, like, over 100 messages from people telling me I sucked and stuff like that because I didn’t get enough rebounds.”

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