I Have One Question For The NCAA After They Suspended Five Richmond Baseball Players For Playing Daily Fantasy - That's It?
TheComeback- Pending an investigation, the NCAA has suspended five University of Richmond baseball players due to a violation involving playing fantasy sports.
Details are scarce but it was reported by the Richmond-Times Dispatch that top players Keenan Bartlett and Kurtis Brown were among the five that were suspended. The University of Richmond hadn’t revealed the names of any of the players and apart from a statement at the beginning of the season, haven’t elaborated on the suspensions. The players are suspended until the NCAA concludes its investigation.
It should be noted that playing fantasy football or any fantasy sport isn’t a violation. The issue is that if there is an entry fee, it becomes a form of gambling in the NCAA’s eyes and that’s when trouble arises.
The NCAA rule is as follows:
“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.”
I'm going to do something excessively dangerous here; I am going to come to the defense of the NCAA. It's not because I agree with literally any decision that they have ever made, but because their decisions are so constantly hypocritical that they have become predictable. I don't give a shit if unpaid student athletes are harmlessly putting up whatever petty amount of cash they do have to increase their interest level in other sports, but playing daily fantasy is - by definition - gambling. It's putting up money to make more money with the understanding that in all likelihood you'll lose money. A vast majority of people wouldn't deem it as "egregious" as a college player having a bookie but in essence it's the same damn thing, and the organization that forbids betting of any kind has made it pretty damn clear they don't have much use for nuance.
So no, I'm not stunned that the NCAA has cracked down on putting financial stakes on the stat lines of professional sports, but I am surprised that all they have to show for it is five guilty baseball players from a ridiculously small school in the middle of fucking Virginia. I'm not being exploited for my athletic ability by a governing body that's worth billions so I am allowed to bet, and I would place a pretty hefty wager that at least 40% of active players spent their Sunday afternoons checking in on the productivity of their pretend roster. That's why I really have to question what one would have to do to get caught.
Did these dudes post their DraftKings scores on Instagram or something? Were they using FanDuel checks to pay for meals on the road? Am I giving them too much credit by assuming they didn't use their government names as their log-in aliases? As far as I know there's no way for them to barter on their own box score so - short of turning the brightness all the way up on their phone and playing in the dugout mid-inning - I'm having a hard time understanding how Richmond baseball managed to get penalized for what I am absolutely certain is a widespread phenomenon. I guess I shouldn't rule out the NCAA using a program that the nation at large doesn't give a damn about to prove their point, but I'll be damned if it would have taken more than 6 seconds of investigating to send a stronger message than handicapping one A-10 baseball team.