The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, March 3, 2019

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, March 3, 2019

Want to lay a few bucks on Illini-Wildcats? By this time next year, you may be able to — without committing a misdemeanor. As lawmakers across America craft bills to pave the way for legalized betting on games — pro and college alike — we asked 10 experts: On a 1-to-10 scale, how concerned are you about the effects gambling could have on college athletics?

JAY BILAS
ESPN college basketball analyst, North Carolina attorney, four-year starter at Duke

"It's a 1 but I would put zero if I could. The notion that legalized gambling brings more risk to college sports than the billions currently bet in illegal gambling is puzzling to me.

"I don't believe we will see any noticeable change. If anything, there will be more transparency. Right now, we have point spreads in most publications and discussed openly on broadcasts, yet very little concern. We don't hear pro leagues bemoaning the ills of their fan bases gambling, just college sports administrators.

"The NCAA's biggest property has a large measure of its popularity tied to gambling. Does anyone believe the bracket pools are for fun only? Of course not.

"The irrational fears of administrators are really tied to only one thing: player compensation. Legalized gambling makes the multibillion-dollar industry of college sports even bigger, making it even harder for administrators to justify limiting the players to expenses only."

TOM McMILLEN
Three-term Congressman, All-American, Olympian and Rhodes Scholar now heads up LEAD1 Association, made up of 130 athletic directors

"My concern level is a 10 out of 10 for one reason — there is vulnerability at the college level because the student-athletes are more susceptible to influence, particularly in the open campus environment.

"I am not personally opposed to sports betting as it was inevitable with technology and globalization. Legalizing sports betting doesn't eliminate risk, as we have seen in soccer and tennis worldwide.

"I want to make sure our universities have the resources to maintain the integrity of their programs. After all, the major sports betting scandals over the last 25 years involving players have occurred at the college level.

"Vigilance is needed as our colleges and universities are our crown jewels and a sports betting scandal would be catastrophic."

STAN IKENBERRY
UI's longest-serving president

"Consider multimillion-dollar shoe contracts, 'one-and-done' student-athletes, cancerous academic scandals at otherwise great universities such as North Carolina, exorbitant salaries for head coaches, and the list goes on.

"Sanctioning legalized gambling on college athletics — if that happened — would simply add to an already intolerable list. For those who care about college sports, the pendulum needs to swing in the opposite direction.

"Who will make the case for legalization of gambling on college sports? Who would benefit? And who will pay the price?

"The price for legalized gambling will come from undermining the integrity of college sports, intense embarrassment for universities and diminished public trust — all for a few extra tax dollars the public will never see.

"The idea of legalized gambling on college sports has been around for a long time and the merits have not gotten any better."

OLIVER LUCK
Andrew's dad, former NCAA executive VP for regulatory affairs, member of inaugural committee that selected College Football Playoff teams

"My concern level is a 7 or 8. I'm worried that a college player could be enticed to 'throw' a game. And in a sport like basketball, it can be difficult to detect."

GARY DANIELSON
Former Purdue quarterback now a CBS college football analyst

"Concern level: 1. I wish I could have a lower number than 1 but your grading scale limited me.

"Gambling is already a huge part of sports, whether legalization becomes even more the norm. Players at all levels are aware and have always dealt with the realities that millions of dollars are being wagered on nearly every game they've played.

"For the vast majority, players ignore the noise and compete to win for their own futures, their universities and most importantly, their teammates.

"I feel dealing with it openly is always better than letting the reality hide in the shadows.

"Will we have problems, embarrassing stories or outright cheating? Of course, but we have those now and 'legalizing' won't either solve or exasperate the actions."

MICHELLE MINTON
Senior fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

"There's an easier and more immediate way administrators can reduce the risk of match-fixing among college athletes: compensate them.

"Given that college athletes receive little to no compensation, the cost of coercing them will likely remain small enough to tempt fixers."

RICK GEORGE
Colorado athletic director, former Illini cornerback

"I'm at 8. Integrity of competition, prop bets and the proximity of gambling kiosks to the competition are concerns.

"The individual states will determine what the tax revenue will go to — infrastructure upgrades, K-12 schools, etcetera. I would like to see the revenue go to higher education.

"I also have concerns on what impact it will have on compliance offices and the addition of personnel to monitor and educate on this."

GARY BARNETT
A year before coaching Northwestern to 1995 Rose Bowl, his star running back admitted to fumbling to cover a $400 bet

"My take would be about a 3. Legalizing what is already happening makes a lot of sense if it provides the revenue and a regulatory element that can be funded from the revenue.

"It could take the dark underbelly of this sort of thing that everyone seems to know is out there and put it in the open.

"My biggest concern is: Can it be funded at a level that is truly regulatory and have the clout to provide the consequences that will no doubt be needed?"

JOHN DOWD
Before representing President Donald Trump, 'Dowd Report' author investigated Pete Rose's betting on Major League Baseball

"History and experience clearly show that betting on any sport creates an unacceptable risk of loss for the bettor, crushing indebtedness, serious criminal activity to overcome the debt and large-scale efforts to rig the outcomes and undermine the integrity of the game."

DEBBIE YOW
Led athletic departments at Saint Louis U, Maryland, N.C. State

"Read the story on NBA official Tim Donaghy and fixing games. It is an eye-opener and can serve as a primer for those who believe this will be easy to manage.

"It will not. The best we can hope for is consistency in the rules from state to state through congressional oversight, rather than 50 states with 50 sets of rules."

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