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Bart Tyson Mon Apr 03, 2000 02:43pm

I don't like all these reports about officials gambling. I also don't believe the reports. I wish they would ID who it is that is saying they gambled. I have my doubts about the people putting together these reports. the media makes all these accusations and not once did they show any any one source.

Brian Watson Mon Apr 03, 2000 02:54pm

How far in advance does the NCAA release the names of who is working the games? I find it hard to believe one of us would bet on or throw a game they were working, but I'm sure they get contacted as well. If Mike Miller can have an agent call 45 times, how many times do you think a bookie would call a ref? Let's hear from the D1 guys, ever been contacted before a game? And I agree, let's see who supposedly did bet. Protecting them does nothing for the game, makes us all look bad, and gives the NCAA more reasoning for background checks. Actually, this story seems too good to be true for the NCAA on that issue.
PS - Would someone explain to me how a criminal background check would uncover a ref who currently has a gambling problem or be under the thumb of an unsavory character? True, there may be a few out there with gambling convictions in the past, but how often is your average bettor(not bookie) arrested for illegal gambling?

bsilliman Mon Apr 03, 2000 04:59pm

This thread was discussed in February. Now, I am biased since I live in Las Vegas and do enjoy betting on college sports.
I too am waiting for the Michigan paper to list the names of the officials contacted. If you notice the numbers they put into the article basically match the national average for problem gamblers
We in Las Vegas say if legal gambling is outlawed then who will regulate the sport. The sports books do a good job of recognizing when too much money is being played on one side, as in the Arizona State game about 3 years ago.
By the way, at a sports bar across from my hotel I asked where I could place a bet and they gave me a phone number here in Indianapolis.
So much for regulation--just like prohibition.

Brian Watson Tue Apr 04, 2000 12:10am

I think they need to do a better job of defiing a "gambler" or those with problems. Important scientific data I have not seen in any of the articles.

I love to play blackjack, I have pulled a few one-armed bandits, I buy powerball tickets every so often, I play bingo with my grandma every now and then, but I do not,and have not bet on a single game, horse, or dog race. I do get in the NCAA office pool, but if I was going to be working tourney games, you better believe I would not be one.

Bottom line, Be it blackjack, slots, bingo or the lottery, it is all a gamble, therefore I am a gambler. But aside from a stray march office pool, I have never bet on a sporting event, so to me the line is meaningless. I hope you don't think I need to get out of officiating. There are a lot of us who do the same and there would be a huge void if we all walked away.

Jim Dixon Tue Apr 04, 2000 11:48am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Geneva">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bsilliman:
. . . I am biased since I live in Las Vegas and do enjoy betting on college sports.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

By your own admission you substantiate part of the findings of the gambling problem among sports officials. You just don't get it because you have the perspective that it is not an ethical or moral problem. Yet, if it is not, then why is it necessary for a major university to subsidize research about the extent of the problem?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Geneva">quote:</font><HR>. . . If you notice the numbers they put into the article basically match the national average for problem gamblers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If sports officials didn't bet, then the average would be zero. Don't you think we are called to a higher ethical standard?

We are indeed called to a higher behavioral standard in our actions and speech on the court--otherwise you would have a legitimate basis for doing the same things that some (not all) coaches get by with. We definitely don't want to go there.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Geneva">quote:</font><HR>We in Las Vegas say if legal gambling is outlawed then who will regulate the sport.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is not the issue. Betting by sports officials is the issue.

I think there is something to be said for the suggestions provided in the comments below (partially quoted from CNNSI.COM).


Sports Illustrated senior writer Tim Layden

Posted: Friday March 31, 2000 05:39 PM

Lesson No. 1: Point spreads are the currency of American sports, and not just for guys who look like they should be in The Sopranos. For college kids. Betting generates much of the energy you see in arenas and stadiums.

Lesson No. 2: If you can't get a bet down on any college campus in America, you aren't trying. Bookies are everywhere. And most of them are students.

Lesson No. 3: An awful lot of student bettors are convinced that games are getting fixed by student-athletes in their midst. (At the time they seemed like little Oliver Stones, but in recent years, scandals at Northwestern, Boston College and Arizona State have given them credibility and given me good reason to think that there's a lot more going on than what's uncovered. Trust me, it makes you look at games differently.)

. . . The simplest way for professional gamblers to make their money is by placing bets in Las Vegas. However, Vegas only gets a small portion of the action. Illegal gambling accounts for the rest -- north of 90 percent, according to some surveys.

. . . . Bottom line: You can complicate pro gamblers' lives, but you can no more put them out of business with one bill than you can eradicate the drug trade.

The NCAA and its member colleges, as always, are hoping Congress will bail them out, when it's the schools who need to address the problem. They need to make gambling on campus a serious issue and not just a topic of politically correct conversation. Athletes get involved in gambling because bookies are down the hall, up the stairs and in the bleachers. College presidents and athletic directors often say that gambling is a societal problem. <u> So are binge drinking, drug use and date rape, and colleges have taken dramatic action to control those problems. </u>

The truth is that colleges have made gambling and bookmaking by students a B-list priority, much as society has done with compulsive gambling, a horrible affliction, relative to alcoholism and drug addiction. <u> You want to cut down gambling on college sports? Start by finding the bookies and gamblers on the campuses themselves and punishing them. Make it dangerous -- and uncool -- to make book or lay down bets. It's not a quick fix but it's the only one with legs. </u>

Thus, a major part of the gambling problem among athletes can be taken care by doing something along these lines. A major part of the gambling problem among sports officials can be taken care of by most of us not gambling, and encouraging our peers to refrain. The alternative is for the gamblers to depart the avocation.

Jim Dixon

[This message has been edited by Jim Dixon (edited April 04, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Jim Dixon (edited April 04, 2000).]

bsilliman Wed Apr 05, 2000 11:55pm

I do agree with your statements and certainly CNN/SI was right on the money. Why do colleges subsidize studies like these? Because a student found a topic which the administration liked.
If I were a college official I would not bet on any sports, and I believe that is where we can draw the line.
If I were a young official with potential to work at the higher level I would not bet.
But I believe my real point is that the NCAA has enough problems regulating other aspects of the student-athlete's lives. They need to listen to the coaches and administrators who want to allow these athletes to work so they can survive like other students.
It is my opinion that in the end Congress will not pass this legislation because it is legislation which is directed against a single state which would probably not be upheld upon appeal.
I hope you had a great officiating year.

Tom Cook Fri Apr 07, 2000 02:41pm

I think that the point to remember here is that by the standards set by most studies, 85% of rabbi's, ministers, and priests would be problem gamblers. I've never bet with a "bookie", never bought a lottery ticket, lost less than $200 in my whole life playing cards, and yet in the University of Michigan study, I would contribute to the percentage of problem gamblers. My brother is a big IU fan and we always bet a pitcher on the outcome of the annual civil wars in Indiana.

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