/New season, new fears about sports betting for Mississippi football’s ‘Big Three’

New season, new fears about sports betting for Mississippi football’s ‘Big Three’

Although state-regulated sports betting could bring in significant additional revenue for Mississippi, it has also meant that extra precautions have been taken by the athletic directors of the three NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivisions (FBS) schools. This week, Jon Gilbert from Southern Miss and John Cohen of Mississippi State issued joint letters to the editors to Mississippi newspapers. Below is a list. According to the athletic directors, this letter was just one of many precautions they took to prevent legalized betting on sports from negatively impacting their student-athletes. Cohen stated that Mississippi State has improved security at its football practices. Allen Godfrey is the executive director of Mississippi Gaming Commission. All three athletic directors met with him. All three athletic directors met with Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Both UNLV and UN Nevada have been operating in a state that legalizes sports betting for a long time. They have all instituted comprehensive education programs for both student-athletes and coaches as well as for athletic staff. All three universities have banned student-athletes, as well as all other athletic staff, from participating in a sports booking operation. Cohen stated that Cohen spent a lot of time informing not only student-athletes, but also all those they come in contact with. Cohen said, “I have been in eyeball to eyeball contact not only with all athletes but also with every student manager, student trainer, and other people who are related to our program. We have been vigilant.” Bjork stated that Ole Miss brought in law enforcement personnel for the football team. Cohen stated that videos were shown to all student athletes. Gilbert met with Gulf Coast casino operators to ask for help keeping USM athletes from gambling. Except for State providing security for practices, there has not been any additional personnel to enforce sports betting at Ole Miss State or USM. Each school has compliance staffs that will monitor the situation. Ole Miss has eight compliance staff members, while State five and USM three have five. Bjork stated that gambling is an area we have always covered with our compliance personnel. It’s now legal, and anyone can legally place a bet in their own backyard. Our compliance personnel will share the responsibility of preventing legalized sport betting from affecting student-athletes. Cohen, a former Mississippi State player, said, “I think back to my college days and I know that gambling would have been legal for me to see a lot more friends and students who went to casinos to place bets.” Godfrey stated that the gaming commission will assist universities in any way it can. Godfrey stated that “we’re all part of this team.” We want to assist in any way possible. We are all on the same team. We will address any concern they may have.” Godfrey pledged that the gaming commissioner would alert athletic directors “if anything seems suspicious.” There have been many gambling scandals throughout college athletics’ history. These have mostly involved athletes, often basketball players, who took money to shave point. One such scandal involved a Mississippi State player during the 1960-61 season. An FBI investigation led to Jerry Graves being implicated. He was one of the best players in State’s championship team. He claimed he did not shave points and only provided information to gamblers. Graves was nevertheless expelled from the NBA. Bjork stated that “if there is a red flag anywhere,” the gaming commission had promised to inform us.