There are four Saturdays between us and the first Notre Dame football game of the 2017 season (yes, I am still counting), and after a refreshing week of family vacation (did I mention there IS a difference between a vacation and a family trip?), I am even more ready for football to hurry up and get here. I did ease my football pain a bit by sneaking in to a few football stadiums, but that is neither here nor there.
Anyways, I have another guest post for you today from George Bashura. Enjoy!
The New American Pastime
Well Notre Dame Football fans, it’s getting to be that time again. ND fan pages and fans are counting down the days to the 2017 football season, as I watch the hospitality tents go up in the areas surrounding area next to the Joyce Pavilion parking lot. Notre Dame Football players are in summer class sessions, team workouts are taking place, and Culver Academy days are just around the corner. Yes, folks #Team129ChangesEverything is about to kick-off their season. As the football season draws closer so does the increase of stories of gambling, disguised in the word “odds.” Let’s dive into the world of betting on college football.
More Than Pocket Change
There are many avenues to bet on college football. You have your traditional methods: online, parlor, and even the friendly bet amongst friends. Back in 2013, in a NBC News story, $60-70 billion was illegally wagered on college football according to CNBC. Nowadays, with the addition of sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel, it’s easier than before for student-athletes to be attracted to the world of sports betting. With the new season about to start, social media has been abuzz with the word “odds”. With just a quick scan of my Facebook feed, I see at least five articles concerning gambling: Bovada releases odds on games won, Bovada releases odds on teams to make the playoffs, Latest 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, and Vegas releases updates on CFB win totals for Top 25 teams.
Gambling is a temptation that any student-athlete can be drawn into. Just look at the name of the above stories, they speak for themselves. Imagine this, betting on your own success. What a confidence booster. The student-athlete doesn’t even have to be the one doing the betting. His friends can take a chance and a large payday if it actually happens. How about the student-athlete with the expectations to perform on the field and the fact he doesn’t want to let his friends down that have bet on him? This sets up an atmosphere to go sour quickly. Point shaving, prop bets and many others can effect an entire team, and even deeper if sanctions are brought against the University by the NCAA.
Don’t Bet On It
The NCAA has a campaign to deter student-athlete from betting on the “Big Game.” The campaign is called “Don’t Bet On It.” The campaign specifically talks about wagering, participating in squares buying, Fantasy Leagues, on-line bets, betting apps, parlay cards and prop bets.
As the parent of a young child, I hear and see advertisements about betting during baseball games to commentators prior to a game on TV. I am thankful that I have not been asked by my daughter, “Daddy what is gambling and what do they mean by a point spread?” All of this public discussion on betting can quickly attract a mind that can be easily swayed. The best thing that can be done is to educate the student-athlete about the consequences of gambling and the effect it could have on athlete’s career potentially down the road.
To quote Pat O’Brien, who played Coach Rockne in Knute Rockne All American, “we haven’t got any use for gamblers around here. You’ve done your best to ruin baseball and horse racing, and this is one game that’s clean and it’s going to stay clean.” Unfortunately gambling has worked its way into college sports. Now coaches and parents of the student-athlete need to make sure that their own athletes don’t fall victim to a quick pay day.