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Jerome García December 13, 2023 3 min read
NCAA Turns to AI to Tackle Gambling-Related Student Abuse
The National Collegiate Athletics Association has admittedly had a few gambling issues of its own lately, but its latest attempts are targeted at individuals outside the organization
As gambling has become more prominent in the United States, the NCAA has been actively working on strengthening the safeguards for its student-athletes, officials, committee members, and staff.
NCAA Addresses Abuse of Staff and Student-Athletes by Gamblers
The bulk of these efforts has been laser-focused on protecting the aforementioned groups of individuals from falling prey to sports gambling sharks, match-fixers, or engaging in gambling themselves.
Yet, the NCAA is now shifting the focus as the increase in sports betting has also led to an increase in the abuse that its members have received from often anonymous members of the public who have used a variety of social media platforms, to wit Tik Tok, Instagram, and X, to barrage gambling-incited hatred on them. There have been on-site issues with betting as well.
The NCAA now wants to make sure that its members are protected, enjoy good mental health and well-being, and are ultimately shielded from irate gamblers who fire off insensitive and threatening messages online. To this end, a new tool provided by Signify Group, Threat Matrix, will deploy AI solutions to study and respond to online abuse and threats.
The tool will allow the organization’s key stakeholders to flag such abuse, help the NCAA coordinate with the platforms that hold the key to curbing this form of abuse, and provide more relevant data to the NCAA to understand the scale and nature of this form of abuse.
Threat Matrix will use the 2023-2024 pilot to establish a benchmark that can then be used to further compare how student-athletes and other members of the NCAA are dealing with the abuse, and also, whether effective measures in foiling the torrent of hatred are undertaken.
Addressing the New Realities in College and Sports Betting
NCAA President Charlie Baker has welcomed the opportunity to see his organization do more to protect vulnerable groups from online abuse.
“This pilot is just the start of much broader online protection measures the NCAA will put in place to guide our longer-term strategy in this crucial space,” Baker.
The news was also welcomed by Signify Group CEO Jonathan Hirshler who was similarly excited about the opportunity to deploy his company’s ground-breaking solutions to ensure that the college sport ecosystem is protected.
“Over the coming months I am confident that we will not only unearth deep insights into online abuse and threat in college sports, but also help drive real action in this space in partnership with the NCAA, platforms and law enforcement agencies,” Hirshler added.
The NCAA has become an outspoken critic of many of the practices in sports betting. Recently, Baker criticized offering prop bets on college sports, arguing that it was a slippery road.