Donovan Says NCAA, Mafia Worked Together Against Gambling
Rumors spread quickly this week after a Yahoo report that Florida basketball player Nick Calathes had lost money playing online poker. Coach Billy Donovan and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley reviewed the situation in detail, discussed the circumstances with compliance officers and the NCAA, and said the matter was no violation.
Donovan in particular was incensed, as he saw the story as an attempt to injure a player who had committed no transgression. Not only was online poker not against NCAA student-athlete rules, said the coach, but the NCAA is extremely proactive in warding against gambling scandals.
Donovan went so far as to say that the NCAA "basically worked with the mafia," according to a quote in the Gainseville Sun. He was discussing methods the college association used to detect and guard against gambling corruption, such as observation of suspicious betting patterns.
Ed Crumley, Online Casino Advisory sports analyst, thought Donovan's comment telling in many ways. "While it is clear that the NCAA has legislated against sports gambling, online poker, Internet casino gambling, or other gaming not involving sports do not disqualify the athlete. But while defending his player, Coach Donovan shows ignorance on the subject himself.
"By mentioning some affiliation between the NCAA and organized crime, Donovan foolishly raises the mistaken stereotype of gambling operators as criminals. If he were more aware of the subject, he would know that the NCAA is only duplicating steps taken long ago in Europe.
"That is, a cooperative process between sports leagues and online casinos, online casinos being legitimate businesses. The process of sharing information regarding wagers and unusual movement of lines has worked for the NCAA and Nevada casino sportsbooks, notably in the case of busted Arizona State point guard Stevin Smith.
"Donovan seems to realize that the sharing of information with gambling outlets helps the NCAA avoid corruption and gambling pitfalls, but he hasn't learned that the stigma of gambling is undeserved, and certainly not mob-based.
"The best thing for Donovan, Florida Gator basketball, and the NCAA would be transparent gambling media, in partnership with well-regulated online casinos. Such a relationship would help keep college sports free of gambling issues, and only leave the massive problem of booster influence to resolve."
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