The NCAA has spent $70,000 for lobbying the first half of this year focused on “gambling issues and issues related to wireless microphones,” according to Politico’s Byron Tau. The NCAA lobbies against gambling on college athletics to prevent cases such as the indictment of Auburn’s Varez Ward (pictured) for point shaving, but at that rate, they are being outspent more than 200-to-1 by the gambling industry based on figures at Open Secrets.
The two in-house lobbyists used by the NCAA are a tiny operation compared to the money spent by the American Gaming Association ($1.2 million), Gila River Indian Community ($1.2 million), Caesars ($0.7 million) and another 142 gambling interests that bring the total pro-gamling lobbying bill to $14.4 million.
Unlike pro athletes who earn millions of dollars and would appear less likely to risk future earnings by accepting a payoff, the NCAA is concerned that college athletes who earn only their tuition and other college costs could be tempted by modest sums to throw games. The point-shaving scheme at Boston College in 1978-79 entailed Rick Kuhn receiving just a $2500 bonus from his high school friends and gamblers Rocco and Tony Perla if BC failed to cover the spread in a game.
Ward was indicted based on a game in which – if the indictment is accurate – he failed to deliver for gamblers. As Breitbart Sports accounted on June 5, 2013, Ward went down quickly with an injury in a game at Arkansas, but Arkansas still failed to cover the spread.
Before the scandal broke, I told the hosts of a show in ESPN’s Auburn affiliate that despite being third in the team in scoring Ward was actually hurting Auburn with only a Value Add of 1.1% due to turning the ball over so much (almost once every 10 minutes), and hogging the ball despite being a terrible shooter (25.6% on three-pointers, 39.8% on two-pointers and 64.8% on free throws).
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