The Richmond Spiders have a short bench after five of their players were suspended for playing fantasy football. That’s right. You read that correctly.
As per the NCAA regulations:
“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.”
The exact details of the offense remain unknown, but it is confirmed to be tied to the fact that the players competed in a fantasy football league that required an entry fee. That’s gambling as far as the NCAA is concerned.
The suspensions are particularly debilitating because of the caliber of two of the suspended players.
Right-hander Keenan Bartlett is currently recognized by Baseball America as one of the A-10 conference’s most promising pro prospects. Kurtis Brown, meanwhile, hit .342 last season with 17 doubles and 35 RBI’s; he was named to the first-team All A-10 last season as well.
It appears that the NCAA is nothing but a stick in the mud in this instance.
The state of Virgina has deemed fantasy sports as explicitly legal and it is regulated by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Fantasy sports are a harmless and safe way to pass time and suspensions like these struggle to be justifiable.
Put simply, younger people need to be making these kind of decisions.