AMELIA ISLAND — The Supreme Court’s decision that now allows states to legalize sports betting was not formally discussed by ACC officials and coaches during spring meetings this week.
But athletic directors and coaches agree that formal education is necessary if states begin to allow sports betting.
“We really didn’t get to that one,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said of gambling discussions during ACC spring meetings. “I think it’s going to be less on a national perspective and more on a state-by-state piece.”
“There will plenty of time for that down the road,” added Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff.
New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are eager to join Nevada, the only state exempted from the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional Monday.
As for the state of Florida, legalizing sports betting could be met with opposition from major state influencers such as Disney and the Seminole Tribe.
Thursday, the NCAA announced it will allow states condoning sports gambling to host championship events, temporarily suspending its current policy on the matter.
The NCAA also said it may reconsider appropriate consequences for college athletes and school athletic department employees who legally bet on sports. Illegally wagering is already an NCAA violation.
With the possibility of Florida college sports teams competing in states with legalized sports betting in mind, coaches and athletic directors believe revamping education for players, coaches and officials will be necessary moving forward.
“Like with anything that changes, you have to educate people on them, and we definitely need to educate our players, coaches and everyone,” new FSU football coach Willie Taggart said. “It’s a learning opportunity and we have to do that. It’s an adjustment, and we all have to adjust to it. We have to do a great job of teaching our athletes about betting.”
Miami athletic director Blake James acknowledged the topic of sports betting was discussed informally among colleagues.
While education concerning illegal sports betting is already taking place, James says schools should take a proactive approach on the new issue of legalized sports gambling.
“I think many of us or all of us are naive if we think our fans weren’t betting on college sports before . ... Obviously now it’s going to be a little more structured in states it is legalized, but it’s going to continue to happen,” James said. “What we can do is continue to educate our students to the ramifications and make sure we’re not compromising the integrity of the game.”
With the Monday ruling, sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL called for federal regulation on sports gambling with hopes of keeping the integrity of games intact.
But the new ruling could influence sports leagues to request certain regulations be included in legislation at the state or federal level.
For example, the NBA earlier this year said it would seek a 1 percent tax on legal bets.
The NCAA remains steadfast in not permitting college athletes or athletics employees to place bets.
“We are committed to ensuring that laws and regulations promote a safe and fair environment for the nearly half a million students who play college athletics,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.
“While we recognize the critical role of state governments, strong federal standards are necessary to safeguard the integrity of college sports and the athletes who play these games at all levels.”
Miami AD Blake James says players need education if sports betting becomes legal.