Davidson College Proactively Bans Betting On School Athletic Events

Posted on March 3, 2020 - Last Updated on March 20, 2020

In the wake of North Carolina lawmakers legalizing sports betting in the state last summer, Davidson College has chosen to take a proactive approach with regard to its students and the possibility of their wagering on the school’s athletic events.

Davidson has instituted a new “Policy on Sports Betting.” The policy prohibits students from “any form of betting on sports competitions in which Davidson College athletes are competing.” The policy applies to all Davidson employees as well.

Davidson College follows St. Joseph’s, other schools

The new policy is similar to one adopted by St. Joseph’s University last fall. Another Pennsylvania school, Villanova University, has a similar prohibition in place. In Indiana both Purdue University and Butler University have likewise introduced such policies.

Like Pennsylvania and Indiana, the new North Carolina sports betting law does not prevent the state’s sportsbooks from taking wagers on athletic events that involve the state’s colleges and universities.

In addition to prohibiting Davidson students and employees from placing bets on contests involving the school’s teams, the policy prohibits the sharing of “nonpublic information about Davidson College athletes that is relevant to sports betting.” It also prohibits employees and students from any “attempt to influence the outcome of a sporting event that includes Davidson College athletes.”

Should Davidson make the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, employees and students are still allowed to fill out tournament brackets, “so long as there is no entry fee required to be eligible to win a prize.”

Students found to violate the policy will be subject to discipline under the school’s honor code. Employees who violate the policy will be similarly subject to discipline “up to and including dismissal.”

“We don’t want anyone to put skin in our games”

Speaking with the school’s newspaper about the policy, Athletic Director Chris Clunie explained how Davidson President Carol Quillen “was fully on board” with the decision to introduce the policy.

“Personally, betting is [students’] prerogative, it’s something they choose to do and something that is becoming a lot more popular in America and around the world,” said Clunie. “You can still do the March Madness bracket, fantasy football, etc., but we don’t want anyone to put skin in our games.”

A private liberal arts school with an enrollment of less than 2,000, Davidson College has 19 men’s and women’s teams competing at the NCAA Division I level. Of all the teams, men’s basketball has the greatest national profile. This is thanks in large part to Stephen Curry’s three-year career at Davidson highlighted by a run to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2008.

The NCAA already has rules in place prohibiting college athletes, coaches, trainers, or anyone else involved with athletic programs from betting on any college or professional sports and from giving information to anyone betting on college or professional sports.

Cherokee casinos wait for compact approval before opening sportsbooks

In July 2019, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a sports betting bill allowing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate retail sportsbooks in the tribe’s two casinos located in the westernmost part of the state in the Appalachian Mountains close to the Tennessee border.

Contrasting with Tennessee’s new sports betting law allowing online-only sports betting, the North Carolina law only allows sports betting on-site at either Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort or Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino.

Davidson College is located about 25 miles north of Charlotte. From campus, it is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive west to Cherokee.

No one is placing any sports bets at either Cherokee casino just yet, however.

In October the tribe sent Gov. Cooper a proposal for amendments to the gaming compact, and the governor has until April to respond. In the meantime, while both properties ready their sportsbooks for opening, sports betting has been put on hold until an amended compact is approved.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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