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NCAA Launches Social Media Campaign To Educate Student-Athletes

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 26, 2024 - Last Updated on March 27, 2024
NCAA Logo On Basketball Court

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released a new responsible gambling campaign. The NCAA’s Draw the Line campaign centers around student-athlete education and the effects of sports betting. It also addresses problem gambling for all who bet on college sports.

This initiative is timed to coincide with the first week of the 2024 Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, one of the country’s busiest times of the year for betting.

March, also known as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, aims to raise public awareness of problem gambling, with an emphasis on the accessibility of prevention, treatment and recovery services. Several legal US gambling states and operators have done extra work, making innovative, responsible gambling efforts to help those struggling the most.

NCAA’s Draw the Line and other initiatives to help raise problem gambling awareness

Coinciding with March Madness, the Draw the Line campaign targets college students and runs across social media channels. The campaign also includes a membership toolkit for NCAA member universities and colleges, providing access to resources to assist those who need help.

The NCAA’s biggest concern has been the vulnerability of student-athletes to manipulation and the lack of adequate protections in some jurisdictions. The NCAA has, therefore, been constantly advocating for legislative reforms while trying to protect student-athletes from harassment by gambling ad campaigns targeting young people.

Alongside the Draw The Line Campaign, the NCAA partnered with Signify Group to pilot an initiative targeting social media harassment for the 2023-24 championship season. The initiative centers around specific championships, like March Madness, with an intensified risk for harassment and abuse directed at championship participants.

Furthermore, the NCAA continues its educational efforts with EPIC Global Solutions, intended to educate over 500,000 current and potential student-athletes on problem gambling harms and the risks sports betting can bring.

Prioritizing student education on the effects of sports betting is more critical than ever

Sports betting is legal in 38 states, and more than half of college-age students report betting on sports at least once in the previous year. More specifically, the 2023 NCAA study revealed that sports betting is pervasive among 18- to 22-year-olds on college campuses, with 67% having participated in the activity.

Many of this year’s bets could also be placed by college students. ESPN reported on a recent American Gaming Association (AGA) analysis, that the 2024 March Madness could attract nearly $2.7 billion in legal bets on this year’s tournaments. That’s almost twice as much as is assumed to have been wagered during this year’s Super Bowl.

Highlighting the importance of the situation, Charlie Baker, the president of the NCAA, stressed in the news release:

“Sports betting is everywhere, especially on college campuses, so it’s critical student-athletes get the real story about how it can impact them and their ability to play.

We know some bettors are harassing student-athletes and officials. That’s why we are advocating for policy changes at the state level and launching monitoring tools around championships to refer serious threats to law enforcement. The NCAA is doing more than ever to protect the integrity of the game and arm student-athletes with the truth about sports betting.”

Multiple US gambling states have moved to restrict prop bets

As the NCAA’s media release further states, the organization is pushing for new regulations to:

  • Protect student-athletes from harassment or coercion
  • Address the negative impacts of problem gambling
  • Protect the integrity of the association’s competition

In Ohio, student-athletes, campus leaders and the national office worked with gaming regulators to prohibit NCAA player-specific prop bets. As a result, bettors residing in Ohio can no longer place prop bets on individual player achievements.

Several state entities, such as Ohio universities, collegiate sports coaches, and professionals in the gambling industry, supported the proposed changes.

Following Ohio’s move, several other US legal gambling states have taken steps to protect student-athletes from sports betting harassment. These include West Virginia, New Mexico and Maryland.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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