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Athletics

Dec. 5, 1997

NCAA Statement from Gambling Issues Representative Bill Saum

The NCAA would like to express its appreciation to Arizona State University President Lattie Coor and Director of Athletics Dr. Kevin White for the opportunity to join them today.

As you may be aware, legal sports wagering has continued to increase in the last 20 years, and illegal sports wagering continues to grow and is believed to exist in one form or another on virtually every member school's campus. The growth in sports wagering has caused an increase in the number or sports wagering-related cases processed by the NCAA enforcement and student-athlete reinstatement staffs in Divisions I, II and III.

The NCAA membership opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering. Sports wagering, as evidenced in the allegations in this case, has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardize the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community. Everyone involved in athletics believes that sports competition should be appreciated for the inherent benefits related to participation of student-athletes, coaches and institutions in fair contests, not the amount of money wagered on the outcome of the competition.

As you have heard Dr. White state, the NCAA membership has adopted specific rules prohibiting athletics department staff members and student-athletes from engaging in sports-wagering activities as they relate to intercollegiate or professional sporting events.

These events can serve as a wake-up call not only for the athletics community, but also the entire educational community from junior high school through college.

Often, sports wagering is referred to as a victimless crime. Illegal activities related to sports wagering have many victims, as evidenced today. Teachers, coaches, administrators and the media -- everyone with an impact on young people -- must be positive role models when dealing with issues related to sports wagering.

There may be questions on how this will affect the Arizona State men's basketball program from the NCAA's perspective. In cases such as this, the concern would be whether the institution knew or should have known that this activity was occurring. To date, there is no information indicating that the institution knew or should have known.

What has occurred here today is a result of a societal problem, not just an Arizona State problem. We all must recognize the risks of involvement in sports wagering, and we all must curb any behavior that encourages involvement in sports wagering. Thank you.

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