DraftKings, FanDuel could cost NCAA athletes eligibility

In this media saturated day in age, it’s hard to avoid discussion of fantasy games when a new season of sports starts up again. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what matters more to people — the real game or the fantasy game.

But the problem with fantasy teams lies not in games themselves, but with the gambling that is most always attached to involvement in fantasy sports.

In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the NCAA found that 18.7 percent of student athletes participated in fantasy leagues that required an entry free and that issued prize money, according to SI.com.

What’s more is that percentage is one that has been steadily increasing ever since the first study was conducted in 2004.

The NCAA, however, does not condone sports gambling of any kind claiming that it can affect physical and metal health of the players and proves to be a safety issue.

So NCAA executive Oliver Luck has a warning for athletes who are tempted by fantasy games, such as DraftKings or FanDuel, the two largest fantasy football sites that offer instant payouts to winners. According to Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin, Luck has reminded people in Dallas that any athlete caught gambling on college sports will automatically lose a year of eligibility.

Perhaps less promotion for fantasy teams on sports networks will help curb it’s appeal.

It turns out that Larry Scott, Pac-12 conference president, agrees that it’s a fine line that separates fantasy sports and gambling and, consequently, his conference will not air ads for the sites on its network.

According to John Ourand and Michael Smith of Sport’s Business Journal, ESPN has also decided to pull back promotions for fantasy teams by putting an end to its on-air “cover alerts”, which is an update on the score of the game in relation to its point spread during the broadcast for bettors.

It’s hard to imagine that the popularity of fantasy sports and gambling could ever decrease, especially in this Internet day in age, but that may just be the case with the threats of ineligibility for athletes who are caught playing and its airtime promotion yanked on major sports networks.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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