May 27, 2024 3 min read

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NCAA Reveals High Rates of Harassment Against Women’s Basketball Athletes

A recent study conducted by the NCAA showed that one out of every three high-profile college athletes engaged in major sporting events experiences harassment from sports bettors

A recent NCAA survey has brought to light how much harassment sports bettors subject college athletes to. The NCAA study revealed that women basketball players have a higher risk of being targeted, with an average of three times more threatening or abusive messages than their male counterparts.

The study showed that one in every three prominent college athletes participating in major sporting activities gets harassed by individuals who are interested in betting, reported News 5 Cleveland. The problem has been aggravated by the legalization of sports betting which has led to more abuse, especially for those games that have strong betting markets as evidenced by the report. The research also indicated that 90% of the harassment occurs online or through social media platforms while 15%-25% of all abuse is betting-related.

In relation to March Madness, the survey covered close to a thousand players from divisions I and II representing 64 teams, 280 coaches, and more than 120 NCAA officials. During this time period, over 54,000 posts and comments were flagged as possibly abusive or threatening and reviewed by analysts. Of these, 4,000 were confirmed as abusive or threatening and reported to social media platforms with some cases being forwarded to the police for further action.

540 abusive messages were specifically identified in relation to sports betting targeted at basketball players including death threats. A greater number of such threats, however, were directed at women’s basketball athletes than their male counterparts.

Coaches Face Threats from Sports Bettors, Highlighting Wider Issue

It is a problem that does not only affect the athletes but also the game officials, administrators and other employees who are involved in these sports events. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach JB Bickerstaff shared how he was once harassed by certain gamblers who sent him threatening messages through phone calls as they had acquired his personal contact details. He stated that some of his coaching decisions like pulling out starters could trigger fans into hostile responses that revolve around gambling outcomes.

The head coach for Dayton Men’s Basketball team, Anthony Grant, said that one time his players got hate mail from fans that turned disgruntled gamblers. He criticized the hostility directed at young athletes and their families.

As a measure against these challenges, Ohio has enacted laws empowering the commission to ban gamblers from posing threats. 

Additionally, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine worked with NCAA to eliminate proposition betting in college sports involving players thus lessening pressure on athletes. This program has been replicated by other US states as well, including Vermont, Maryland, and Louisiana.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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