Massachusetts Universities Send Letter to State in Opposition of College Sports Betting

  • Institutions say student-athletes will be at risk if college sports betting is legalized
  • Harvard and Boston College were among those that signed the letter
  • A compromise committee is reviewing the legislation and will present a compromise bill
  • Administrators worry that game integrity will be compromised  
Boston College entrance sign
Massachusetts colleges and universities wrote a letter to the State House to show their opposition to college sports betting legalization. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Academic institutions say no to sports wagering

Seven Massachusetts universities and colleges have penned a letter to the State House to express their opposition to a bill that would legalize college sports betting in the state. The letter points out the institutions’ belief that student-athletes would be at risk, along with the facilities’ integrity and culture.

all in agreement that the change would have a negative effect

The presidents and athletic directors of Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, College of the Holy Cross, Northeastern University, and Merrimack College signed the letter. They are all in agreement that the change would have a negative effect on colleges and universities in the state.

Legislation in the works

A provision was placed in the state’s economic development bill HB 4887 earlier in the year that would legalize sports betting and include college athletics. In July, the House of Representatives approved the provision, but the Senate voted against it.

Some Massachusetts senators are in favor of legalized sports betting, but not via the economic development bill. Because of the back and forth between the House and Senate, a compromise committee was created to construct a compromise bill and introduce it to both chambers for approval.

Legal college sports betting too risky

The academic group feels that sports betting will compromise the integrity of competition as well as promote unhealthy, financially risky habits among students. According to the administrators, the activity would deplete the already limited resources of the universities. They also stated their belief that legalized gambling could put pressure on athletes to engage in match-fixing.

often leads to more corrupt and unethical actions”

“Doing so clearly harms personal and institutional values, has no place in college sports, and, as history shows, often leads to more corrupt and unethical actions,” the letter reads.

The letter also points out that students might feel the need to provide information to gamblers about their classmates, such as the health of athletes and playing status, which would provide beneficial data to the gambler.

The university and college administrators pointed out that while they do understand the need for new revenue streams in this difficult economic climate, they believe Massachusetts can reap the benefits of sports betting without allowing wagers on college events.