Purdue Sports Betting Ban: A Misguided Attempt At Protecting Integrity

Posted on October 11, 2019

The misinformation on protecting the integrity of college sports has unfortunately taken hold at one of Indiana’s public universities. A Purdue sports betting ban for faculty, staff, and students on Boilermaker games is the result.

The reality is that there are integrity safeguards already built into the legal betting system. Even if that wasn’t the case, however, enforcing the ban would be nearly impossible. Doing so will only enhance the likelihood of the very activity that the university wants to avoid happening.

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Details on the new Purdue sports betting ban

The ban, announced by the Board of Trustees on Thursday, applies to all faculty, staff, and students at Purdue.

The ban applies to both in-person and mobile sports betting on Purdue Boilermakers games. While the university has yet to announce sanctions for individuals caught violating the ban, the administration seems intent on enforcing it.

How exactly they will go about that is a mystery, however. It’s going to be quite challenging to do so.

The ban is practically impossible to enforce

It’s important to note that although Purdue is a state university, its policies are not laws in the Hoosier State. For all faculty, staff, and students at Purdue at least 21 years of age, it remains perfectly legal to bet on Boilermaker games in Indiana.

Because the ban lacks the force of law, it’s also going to be hard to enforce. Purdue has no authority to compel sportsbooks to turn over any records of transactions or force people to surrender their mobile devices for inspection.

Without hard evidence to prove a faculty member, staff member, or student placed a bet on a Boilermaker contest, disciplining will be difficult as well. However, if Purdue is somehow able to enforce its ban, it could make them realize their fears.

Purdue sports betting ban could do more harm than good

The Board of Trustees’ intentions may be noble, although misguided. They likely wish to protect the integrity of Boilermaker athletic events.

That’s exactly what they could be compromising with this move, however. Relegating Boilermaker games back to a “black market” for betting purposes on campus could increase demand for insider information on the games, like the injury status of a player.

Additionally, if Purdue can get legal sportsbooks in Indiana to cooperate with its investigations, that could push people to illegal offshore betting channels. Such avenues have a long history of involvement in game fixes and point-shaving scandals.

Perhaps the last reason why this move is unnecessary, if not harmful, is it is entirely redundant. All of the board’s concerns are already addressed in the law.

Indiana sports betting laws have your back, Purdue

As most of the student population at Purdue is under 21 years of age, it’s illegal for them to bet on any games, including the Boilermakers. That doesn’t apply to most of the faculty and staff, but the law accounts for that as well.

It’s illegal in Indiana for anyone with tangible ties to college athletic departments to bet on those games. That applies to the sharing information paramount to those contests as well.

Failing those safeguards, sportsbooks already employ integrity checks. They continuously monitor for any unusual activity that suggests a fix. When one is found, the sportsbook immediately reports it to the state.

Indiana has a long history of gambling, and bringing the activity into the legal and regulated market is the best move for the integrity of the game and the residents of Indiana.

This policy by Purdue is overambitious, redundant, and even disastrous. Additionally, it is contrary to the interest of the state in legalizing sports betting.

The bottom line: Purdue should lift the ban.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling