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Comparing referee gambling policies in NFL and NCAA

This post was written in collaboration with Daniel Smith, a writer and fellow football fan.

A story that was reported on briefly by this news website for poker during the NFL pre-season dealt with the history of one of their replacement referees and their ties to professional poker. Their concern was whether the referee was a regular gambler and whether or not it would have an impact on NFL games.

Ultimately, they determined that the referee's history in gambling was not going to conflict with their duties on the field and that referee was allowed to officiate games. This story led us to compare the policies of the NCAA and the NFL in regards to gambling and we found that they both are very similar.

The NCAA forbids student-athletes as well as college athletic departments, conference offices, and even the NCAA national office staff from placing wagers on college, amateur, or pro sport where the Association conducts championships. Their reasoning behind this is that if someone were to rack up a lot of gambling debt, they could become a target to game fixing.

The NFL actually goes a step further and bans its players and officials from all forms of gambling.  Their reasoning is the same as the NCAA and they pull few punches in regards to what they ban.

About the only exception to this rules seems to be poker tournaments where the money goes to charity.  Since the players are not awarded cash prizes, then there is nothing of consequence that can be used to influence players.  Of course, the NFL has banned their players from charity events that were held inside of a casino. 

The NCAA focuses primarily on sports betting in regards to their policy as that is the biggest threat against the game at present.  Their athletes do not make the cash of NFL players, so many don't have the resources to become hooked to the same types of gambling activities that NFL players might.

Both the NCAA and the NFL have established their anti-gambling policy to prevent game fixing and protect the integrity of their contests.  We can all imaging what type of sport college football and basketball would be if these policies were not in place.  Thankfully, that is a reality we will never have to experience.

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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