Jamie Pollard says gamble discussion should include an integrity fee for colleges. Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for Iowa and other states to legalize sports wagering brought questions and concerns from leaders of athletics teams across the state.
College administrators and state leaders are in uncharted territory following Monday's landmark ruling that allows states to decide whether to legalize sports betting.
The initial reaction from major college athletics leaders in Iowa? Unease.
“No one really knows what this could be,” Drake athletic director Brian Hardin said. “I think the unknown is always daunting.
"And I think, like many things, the devil will be in the details.”
Betting on sports is not legal in Iowa — at least not yet. Leaders are expected to consider a proposal to legalize sports betting in Iowa when the state legislature reconvenes in January.
“I just want to make sure that it doesn’t have any unintended consequences that we’re not thinking about, related to either student-athletes, related to compliance (or) making sure that we don’t have a new gambling force roaming the halls of our sports complex or our campus,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said.
Hardin echoed that, among other worries.
“An additional concern that I have deals with the additional pressure that would be placed on the student-athletes and it will be tough to prepare them for and it could be challenging to police,” Hardin said.
Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said it could lead to another big discussion in college sports: Paying college athletes.
SPORTS BETTING: What Iowans need to know after Supreme Court ruling
“If the state’s going to make money off gambling and off of college sports, there will be those that feel student-athletes should get a piece of that, too,” Pollard said Monday.
Pollard and college athletics administrators — along with professional athletics leagues — are already asking for states to build in an integrity fee if they legalize sports betting.
The NFL and other professional sports leagues are pushing for 1 percent of the total amount wagered on their games. If colleges received a similar integrity fee, Pollard and others say that would be applied toward the additional costs incurred by the schools from sports betting.
“For a school like Drake, the idea of increasing the educational and compliance components as well as what could be done from an enforcement standpoint, those are things that currently aren’t budgeted,” Hardin said.
SportsPulse: Supreme Court reporter Richard Wolf breaks down the SCOTUS ruling on sports betting in the United States, and what it could mean for the future of gambling in professional and college sports. USA TODAY Sports
Worry of 'influence' on games
College teams weren't the only ones potentially affected by Monday’s landmark ruling.
Professional teams throughout the state could feel the impact of it as well. And like college teams, there are worries as well.
“Absolutely, I think there are some reservations, too, with people trying to influence (games),” Iowa Barnstormers vice president/chief operating officer John Pettit.
- Iowa will consider sports betting in wake of U.S. Supreme Court ruling
- Peterson: Gambling ruling means it's time to start paying student-athletes
Pettit said betting on sports could also help teams like the Barnstormers garner fans and create a rooting interest in the Indoor Football League. In fact, the Arena Football League, which the Barnstormers were previously a part of, has embraced it, announcing in April several partnerships that allowed fans to get betting previews and in-game betting angles.
Pettit thought it could be something the Indoor Football League could potentially do.
“Anything that piques the interest in it could definitely help,” Pettit said. “People are interested with what the line is.”
Iowa Cubs president/general manager Sam Bernabe believes it could add interest in minor league baseball and other sports as well. But betting on minor league baseball would be a challenge, considering the amount of unpredictable turnover on rosters.
The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. (May 14) AP
Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, said it remains to be seen whether there would be betting interest on Iowa's professional league teams.
"Right now, I don’t believe that there’s any spreads or lines on those various games on the illegal market," he said. "I guess you’d have to see what happens now, if there are bets being placed on those at the minor leagues.”
Register reporters Mark Emmert and Randy Peterson contributed to this story