LAS VEGAS — The NCAA has found 175 infractions of its sports-betting policy since 2018 and there are 17 active investigations, according to a letter from the sports organization’s president that was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
NCAA President Charlie Baker included the numbers in a letter sent this week in response to a query from Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat from Nevada whose district includes the Strip in Las Vegas.
The NCAA does not release details of active investigations and Baker’s letter does not list any schools or athletes. The NCAA told the AP in an email that less than 0.25% of its approximately 13,000 sporting events “are flagged for suspicious betting patterns, and a much smaller percentage have specific, actionable information.”
The NCAA pays a company to look for and flag potential betting policy infractions; many college conferences do the same thing.
In Baker’s letter to Titus, he said athletes, coaches and administrators committed violations ranging from $5 wagers to “providing inside information” and that the active investigations have a similar span in severity.
There have been some notable cases that went public. Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired in May because of suspicious betting activity involving his team, and Iowa and Iowa State announced a combined 41 athletes were suspected to have broken betting rules.
Legal betting has blossomed across the United States over the past five years, raising the likelihood of a college sports gambling scandal. NCAA rules against gambling by athletes remain strict, though they were recently adjusted to recognize “mitigating factors” when it comes to penalizing “young people who have made mistakes.”
Baker outlined several steps the NCAA is taking to ensure integrity of its events, and the organization provided the AP with much of the same information. The NCAA is emphasizing educating athletic departments about the risks involved and Baker said the safety and mental health of the organization’s more than 500,000 student-athletes were paramount.
“I appreciate Congress’ increased attention to the topic of sports betting,” Baker wrote. “I agree with you that in addition to the opportunities it creates, sports betting brings risk that could undermine the integrity of competition.”
Titus, in a statement to AP, thanked Baker for the information he provided. She said she also wrote letters to the major professional sports leagues.
“This kind of transparency is crucial for the integrity of the game and success of legal sports betting,” Titus said. “Now that we have answers from the NCAA, I need to hear from professional sports leagues about their efforts to protect players and the public from illegal activities.”