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NCAA president Charlie Baker pushes to ban college prop bets amid string of gambling controversies

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The NCAA is encouraging individual states to ban proposition bets involving college athletes following a string of gambling scandals spanning a variety sports. With plans to engage with states where prop bets are legal, the NCAA is taking aim at wagering aimed at a certain statistic or player, which can make them especially vulnerable to outside influence. Missing a free throw or leaving the game with an injury can ultimately swing major sums.

“Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of competitions and leading to student-athletes and professional athletes getting harassed,” NCAA president Charlie Baker said in a statement. “The NCAA has been working with states to deal with these threats and many are responding by banning college prop bets.

“This week we will be contacting officials across the country in states that still allow these bets and ask them to join Ohio, Vermont, Maryland and many others and remove college prop bets from all betting markets,” Baker continued. “The NCAA is drawing the line on sports betting to protect student-athletes and to protect the integrity of the game — issues across the country these last several days show there is more work to be done.”

It’s easily the most aggressive advocacy statements against gambling that Baker has made since taking over in March 2023. Unlike his predecessor, Mark Emmert, Baker is a longtime politician and accepted the role as the outgoing governor of Massachusetts. Baker has quickly leveraged his political connections since taking the job, taking repeated trips and testifying in front of Congress. 

This stance, however, comes days after Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter was placed under investigation by the NBA for prop bet irregularities. During a Jan. 26 game against the LA Clippers, Porter — a minor contributor — was one of the most bet-on players of the night. He left the game after four minutes, meaning all of his unders cashed. 

The NCAA has seen repeated issues with gambling irregularity over the past year as more states legalize sports wagering. Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired and slapped with a 15-year show-cause after allegedly giving away inside information to gamblers. Temple basketball is also under investigation by watchdog firm U.S. Integrity. Several Iowa and Iowa State players were previously suspended for gambling, including several on their own team. 

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