Stakes High for Sports Gambling

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), June 11, 2003 | Go to article overview

Stakes High for Sports Gambling


Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard

Enter an office pool related to a sporting event?

`I know I can't do that,' UO basketball coach Ernie Kent said.

Play in a fantasy baseball league? Try to pick winners in the Sports Action version sponsored by the Oregon Lottery Commission?

`Absolutely not,' said Hal Cowan, Oregon State assistant athletics director. `Our (compliance) guy has made it plain and in no uncertain terms, there can be no gambling in any way, shape or form.'

While the current imbroglio at the University of Washington surrounding football coach Rick Neuheisel has focused public attention on NCAA rules against gambling, officials and coaches at Oregon and OSU say they have been given a clear and persistent message in recent years that employees of college athletics departments can't participate in any type of wagering on sporting events.

`It's been broken down to the nth degree,' Kent said.

Cowan said OSU's compliance office sends out a memorandum `three times a year' reminding all employees that they are forbidden from participating in any form of sports betting, no matter how unorganized and regardless of the monetary amounts at risk.

`Our guys have hammered it hard every year,' Cowan said.

While UO employees couldn't cite any specific examples of warnings, they seemed clear on the rule.

`From what we've been told here for many years, and what we've told our (assistant) coaches and athletes, you can't gamble on any sports,' UO football coach Mike Bellotti said.

The specific NCAA rule on gambling is 10.3, and it reads fairly straightforward that `staff members ... and student-athletes shall not knowingly' make wagers or aid others in doing so, and risk a one-year suspension if caught in a violation.

Paragraph (e) of that rule specifically warns athletes and employees not to `participate in any gambling activity that involves intercollegiate athletics or professional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card or any other method employed by organized gambling.'

Though that doesn't seem to specifically cover such things as office pools where participants fill out NCAA basketball tournament brackets, Dave Williford, Oregon's assistant athletics director for media services, said UO staff members `certainly understand that office pools were no longer acceptable. …

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