Last week, the NCAA suspended five University of Richmond baseball players for taking part in Fantasy Football.
While fantasy football isn’t necessarily gambling, the NCAA treats standard Fantasy leagues in the same way.
The rule reads as follows:
“You are not eligible to compete if you knowingly participate in any sports wagering activity that involves intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card or any other method employed by organized gambling. Examples of sports wagering include, but are not limited to, the use of a bookmaker or parlay card; internet sports wagering; auctions in which bids are placed on teams, individuals or contests; and pools or Fantasy leagues in which an entry fee is required.”
It was announced that the five players will remain suspended until the NCAA completes its “reinstatement process.”
The University of Richmond released this statement on the matter:
“The University of Richmond athletics department has reported NCAA secondary violations impacting the eligibility of five student-athletes on the baseball team. In full cooperation with the NCAA, the athletic department fully investigated and reported the violations, which the NCAA has recently determined were secondary in nature.
As a result of these violations, these five student-athletes will be ineligible for competition until the NCAA’s reinstatement process has been completed.
The University of Richmond is committed to complying with all NCAA rules and regulations. Under NCAA rules, the University of Richmond is obligated to monitor and self-report violations as they occur and all student-athletes and staff handled this situation with integrity, were completely forthcoming and cooperative with the investigation. The athletics department will not make any further comments about this matter.”
While rules are of course, rules, the NCAA sends mixed messages to athletes about financial gain in more ways than one.
For example, this tweet shows an advertisement for the Bracket Challenge, an NCAA competition that asks you to “bet” on which team you think will win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in March.
While it’s unclear whether or not any money actually exchanged hands, simply playing fantasy football doesn’t require someone to spend money or gamble financially.
There are leagues which you can certainly just play for pleasure.
Our question is, should college athletes be able to play fantasy sports?