Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tip of the iceberg?

The cover story on USA Today's sports section addresses point-shaving in college basketball. The story reviews involvement of University of Toledo players in a scheme that involved working against the point-spread in games. The story recounts other major betting scandals in college athletics, including cases at Arizona State and Northwestern during the 1990s.
USA Today's story is a relatively rare look at the influence of gambling on college athletics, especially considering that a study published last year estimates point-shaving as a factor in 5% of games involving large spreads. On top of that, an NCAA study estimates involvement in gambling by male athletes at around 35 percent. Last year, Christine Brennan also pointed to NCAA documentation that about 5% of D1 players say they've taken money to play poorly or knew someone who did.
It was good to see the USA Today story today -- but the issue of point-shaving in college athletics needs a lot more attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Point shaving is connected to the whole issue of gambling -- and not just by athletes, but gambling in general as a relatively hidden addiction. While the NCAA has made promos (recall the famous "Fool!" PSA back in 2001?) there's a weird synergy between them and ESPN - what with ESPN's coverage of poker.

Granted, the Texas Hold'em rage has seemed to quiet down since this piece from 2005 ( but casinos and online gambling -- and gambling on college games -- are a growing issue. And temptation.