Eight of 10 university athletes don"t think participating in payment fantasy sporting activities leagues is a violation that NCAA rules. They"re wrong.

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With the very first weekend the the season over, fantasy football fans room either celebrating an early victory or licking their online wounds this mainly -- and also college athletes room no exception. Much more than 70 percent of nationwide Collegiate strong Association athletes participate in fantasyleagues.

The problem: numerous of those athletes hurt NCAA rules by act so.

Twenty percent that NCAA athletes recognize to participating in fantasy sporting activities leagues v entry fees and also cash prizes, according to a survey conducted last year by the NCAA. All however 1.8 percent that those athletes to be men. Much more than 80 percent that athletes stated they didn"t establish joining a paid fantasy league was one NCAA violation. The survey"s outcomes were based on a representative sample the 23,000 students across 22 sports in all three divisions. If the survey had all NCAA athletes and the percentages held, the variety of players violating the rules by entering paid fantasy leagues would be about 90,000.

Citing mental, health, and safety issues, the NCAA forbids sports gambling of every types. Students deserve to too easily come to be addicted to gambling, the NCAA states, and also can be perceived by "organized crime and also professional gamblers as simple marks because that obtaining inside details or affecting a game’s outcome." when gambling amongst college athletes has diminished in recent years, participationin sports wagering and also fantasy leagues has actually gone up.

In 2013, the NCAA defined the overall growth of sporting activities wagering together "explosive."

Fantasy sporting activities (a game where players build a virtual team that athletes and compete against each other based upon statistics produced by how the actual athletes perform) have likewise exploded in popularity. More than 40 million north Americans currently play fantasy sports, follow to the Fantasy sports Trade Association. They invest $15 billion every year ~ above league-related expenses. Soccer is the most renowned fantasy sport, and in 2013, $1.6 billion was invested in fantasy football leagues. Four years earlier, that number was simply $800 million.

"Fantasy leagues are an extremely popular among college-age students," claimed Jeffrey Derevensky, co-director of the International facility for Youth Gambling in Canada and also a frequent writer of NCAA studies around gambling. "The variety of fantasy leagues are growing. Americans in particular are really much interested in college sports and also athletes in generalare yes, really interested in various other athletes. A most fantasy leagues room done right on campus. They don"thave to go to a casino to get connected in a fantasy league.That renders fantasy sporting activities an attractivething for them."

Though the entry fees because that the varieties of leagues many students join are generally small, the sanctions can be tough.

A college athlete participating in a league involving his own team or college -- and also there are college fantasy leagues -- might permanently lose his eligibilityas an NCAA athlete. One athlete participatingin any type of paid league might sit out an entire season.

"The penalties are based on the situations of every case and the punish guidelines collection by each division," Emily James, associate director the public relationships at the NCAA, said. "Fantasy sports league instances involving student athletes room processed by ours student-athlete reinstatement team. Fantasy sporting activities league issues have additionally been processed as an additional and significant violations by ours enforcement team."

So why carry out so numerous athletes go into paid leagues despite the risk?

Part of the reason is that many athletes don"t think the fantasy sporting activities as gambling. And, legally, it"s not. Under the internet Gambling Prohibition and also Enforcement plot of 2006, fantasy sporting activities are defined as a game of skill. However James claimed the NCAA considers fantasy sporting activities to be sports wagering, as it defines sports wagering as "putting something at hazard with the possibility to success something in return." it doesn"t issue if the athlete is paying a huge fee to join a league on a website or $5 to sign up with a league in his friend"s living room: if there"s money on the line, it"s an NCAA violation.

Even some coaches and also administrators don"t establish that play in paid fantasy leagues is against NCAA regulations, Rachel Newman Baker, the NCAA"s former managing director the enforcement, said in a statement last year.

“Above nearly anything else, a usual student-athlete walk not want to negatively influence his or she team,” said Newman Baker. “Considering that about 40 percent of males think your coaches see sporting activities wagering together acceptable, programmatic efforts to educate have to involve not just student-athletes, but additionally coaches and also administrators.”

In 2010, the college of Missouri in ~ St. Louis was placed on two-year probation ~ the head coach the its men"s golf team play in numerous fantasy leagues with entry fees as high together $1,300. The coach at some point purchased and operated his very own fantasy football operation, recruiting a volunteer coach and also three the his players to act together commissioners, every while still a golf coach at the institution. Second NCAA hurt have affiliated athletic room spokespeople, assistant coaches, and also facility supervisors paying between $30 and $100 to sign up with fantasy leagues.

In the Missouri case, the NCAA quote a lack of education as among the main vehicle drivers of the misconduct. It"s a problem, the association says, the extends to numerous universities and also athletic departments.

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A 4 minutes 1 of division I athletes say they have not receivedinformation around NCAA gambling rules, according to NCAA surveys. In divisions II and also III, nearly fifty percent of the athletes to speak they haven"t to be told around the rules. The number of students who have receivedinformation about rules worrying fantasy leagues particularly is likely even lower due to the fact that most officials don"t watch fantasy sporting activities participation together a college student health issue like castle do an ext stereotypical develops of gambling like wagering on sporting events and horse racing, which can much more easily bring about addiction, Derevensky said.

"It"s against NCAA regulations, yet most youngsters who have actually gambling troubles don"t get involved in fantasy leagues," the said. "Most individualswho have actually gambling problems can"t wait that long to discover out what the results are going come be. The concern around gambling indigenous a student athlete perspective involves the health and also well-being of the athlete, and the verity of the game. For this reason the NCAAis trying to educate students about gambling in general."