The NCAA is known to hand out seemingly arbitrary suspensions for specious transgressions such as byzantine misappropriation of school book funds and drug violations that are actually not drug violations. Here’s a new one: Five Richmond baseball players were reportedly suspended from the team for playing fantasy football.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch broke the story late last week that star pitcher Keenan Bartlett, infielder Kurtis Brown, and three of their teammates haven’t played yet this season because someone told the NCAA that they’d been playing fantasy football. The actual rule they violated, per the Times-Dispatch, is a ban on gambling in any form, including paying an entry fee into a fantasy league.
Here’s the rule:
“You are not eligible to compete if you knowingly participate in any sports wagering activity that involves intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics, through a bookmaker, a parlay card or any other method employed by organized gambling. Examples of sports wagering include, but are not limited to, the use of a bookmaker or parlay card; Internet sports wagering; auctions in which bids are placed on teams, individuals or contests; and pools or fantasy leagues in which an entry fee is required.”
The Times-Dispatch doesn’t get into specifics about what exactly the players did that got them suspended. It could have been participating in daily fantasy sports or just informally playing for a few dollars amongst friends. NCAA athletes are warned not to play for money and even though fantasy sports are legal, the NCAA does not agree. That said, this rule is repressive and unfair, which makes it par for the course for the NCAA.
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