NCAA Primer on Impermissible Sports Wagering Activities [Higher-Ed/College Athletics Best Practices Alert (First Quarter 2014)]

Author: Justin P. Sievert, Esquire (Senior Counsel)

With the college basketball season in full swing and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament fast approaching, fans across the country are beginning to follow NCAA men’s basketball a little bit more closely as they prepare to fill out their “brackets” and begin to enter into various tournament “pools.” In fact, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has become so popular the FBI expects illegal gambling could reach upwards of $2.5 billion. As a result, it is important for both athletics department employees and student-athletes to understand NCAA Bylaw 10.3 (Sports Wagering Activities). The bylaw, as applied to athletics department employees and student-athletes, forbids knowingly participating in sports wagering activities or providing information to individuals involved in, or associated with, any types of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competitions. Further, a student-athlete who is found in violation of Bylaw 10.3 would be ineligible for further intercollegiate athletics competition, subject to an appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement. If a student-athlete engaged in activities designed to influence the outcome of an intercollegiate contest or activities that will affect the gambling line or gambles on the institution he or she attends, that student-athlete would lose his or her remaining eligibility in all sports. If a student-athlete participates in another sports wagering activity, the student will be ineligible for a minimum period of one year. If the student-athlete later engages in an additional sports wagering activity, the student-athlete will be permanently ineligible.

Examples of impermissible sports wagering activities include the following:

  • Solicit or accept a bet on a college or professional contest for any item of value (e.g., cash, meal, tangible object);
  • Fantasy sports leagues in which an entry fee is required and there is an opportunity to win a prize;
  • Use of a bookmaker or parlay card;
  • Internet gambling on sporting events;
  • Sports wagering involving 1-900 numbers;
  • Auctions in which bids are placed on teams, individuals, or contests; and
  • Sports Pools (e.g., March Madness, College Football Playoff) in which an entry fee is required and there is an opportunity to win a prize.

Contact Justin P. Sievert (954-941-1844; for more information pertaining to NCAA sports wagering issues.