Now that sports gambling is spreading, is it time to pay college athletes?

The NCAA has relented on its longstanding opposition to allowing tournaments in states where sports gambling is allowed; not that it had much of a choice following this week’s Supreme Court decision striking down laws against sports bookmaking anywhere but Vegas.

That might be bad news for Vegas — why go to Las Vegas when you can make a bet from Fridley? — but now the convention capital of the country can host the NCAA tournaments.

Can paying athletes be far behind?

The NCAA is concerned that having athletes and gamblers mix is a bad idea. The student athletes are forced to live in relative poverty while the NCAA and its schools get rich. Maybe this will be what was needed to eliminate the system of indentured servitude.

If not, there’ll be plenty of nearby money to throw games. The NCAA seemed to acknowledge that today when it announced it will allow gaming venues to host championships.

“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Sports wagering can adversely impact student-athletes and undermine the games they play. 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.”

The NCAA is calling on the federal government — not states — to regulate the new sports gambling landscape.

Two months ago, Emmert flat-out dismissed any talk of paying players. But that was before the Supreme Court ruling.

Where would the money come from to pay athletes? How about the “integrity fee” that the NBA is proposing, which is intended to give the league and players a cut of the action?

Related: Whites oppose — and blacks support — paying NCAA athletes, especially when they’re thinking about race (Washington Post)

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

  • lindblomeagles

    Instead of paying college athletes, maybe we should force the NFL and the NBA to create and maintain a legitimate minor league farm system the way the NHL and MLB already do. They take students right out of high school and allow them to be a) paid, and b) learn the trade of professional sports without declaring a major or taking required core classes. Just think, we can reduce corruption in sports’ gambling, return college athletics to real college students, and provide an opportunity for those considering a sports’ career to actually focus on a sports’ career instead of pretending to concentrate on both sports and academia.

    • Jack

      But what we do with the palaces just built in the past decade at the U?

      • jon

        If It’s a stadium… it’d be designed to be torn down every few years and have tax payers build a new one… so I suggest we just tear them down on schedule, and (this is the weird part) DON’T PAY FOR A NEW ONE…

        • Jack

          Totally agree that we shouldn’t be paying for anymore.

  • Rob

    Bob C., the answer to your headline question is “Yes.”

  • Jack Ungerleider

    A lot of the talk on one of the local sports talk stations this week is how its unlikely that professional athletes won’t be targets for throw games, point shaving, etc. do to how much they get paid. But since college players aren’t being paid they are a better target for the element that wants to take chance out of betting. (They already are, but with legal sports betting a reality, there will be more chances for this to happen.) There also was some thought that “in-game” bets might be subject to more monkey business than game bets. Example: young Joe Jones a star player for the State College basketball team gets wind via a friend that one of the legal bookies is taking bets that he won’t take a 3-point shot until after the first TV time out. (About 4-5 minutes) This bet is considered a sure thing for the bookie because the 3-point shot is a big part of this kid’s game. If Jones hears about the bet, or someone who knows him knows about the bet he can directly influence its outcome. If he’s in on it then he stands to make money off the bet. When asked after the game he can simply say “I just didn’t have confidence in my 3 point shot early” and that’s that.