Two weeks ago we partnered with ExTa and NCAA staff to discuss the impact of sports wagering on college athletics. This week's blog will be discussing how college programs can create a culture and ecosystem rooted in proactiveness and cultivate strategic initiatives that their program can weave into their standards and protocol when it comes to sports wagering and mental health. By creating a culture of open dialogue, educating athletes/coaches about the risks, and providing comprehensive mental health support, programs can foster a resilient and cohesive team environment. Read below to check out the proactive measures and strategic initiatives athletic departments can implement.
Implementation of Strategic Initiatives:
Education and Awareness: Providing comprehensive education about the risks and consequences of sports betting is crucial. Athletes should understand the potential impact on their mental health, academic eligibility, athletic careers, and personal lives that sports wagering presents. Educating athletes about the rules and regulations governing sports betting and emphasizing the importance of maintaining integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest will help programs maintain ethics and proactively protect athletes from potential dangers.
Clear Policies and Codes of Conduct: Athletic programs should establish clear policies and codes of conduct that explicitly prohibit student athletes from participating in sports betting. These policies should be communicated clearly to all athletes, coaches, and staff members. Emphasize the consequences, such as disciplinary actions or loss of eligibility, for violating the policies in place.
Regular Monitoring and Reporting: Implement a system for monitoring and reporting any suspicious activities related to sports betting. Encourage athletes, coaches, and staff to report any instances they observe or suspect. This can help identify potential issues early on and address them promptly.
Collaboration with Regulatory Bodies: Establish partnerships or collaborate with regulatory bodies that oversee sports betting, such as local gambling commissions or national governing bodies. Stay informed about the latest regulations and developments in the industry. Engaging in these collaborations can provide valuable resources, guidance, and support in protecting student athletes.
Supportive Team Environment: Cultivate a supportive team environment that values integrity, sportsmanship, and personal well-being. Promote open communication and encourage athletes to seek guidance and support from coaches, athletic trainers, and mental health professionals. Foster a culture where athletes feel comfortable discussing concerns and seeking help when needed.
Collaboration with Gambling Addiction Support Organizations: Partner with gambling addiction support organizations to raise awareness about the risks of sports betting and provide resources for athletes who may develop gambling-related problems. Collaborating with these organizations can help create a network of support and ensure that student athletes receive appropriate assistance if needed.
Regular Check-Ins and Support from Coaches: Coaches play a crucial role in the well-being of student athletes. Encourage coaches to have regular check-ins with athletes, both individually and as a team. Foster a supportive coach-athlete relationship where athletes feel comfortable discussing their concerns, including any pressures or temptations related to sports betting.
Peer Mentorship Programs: Establish peer mentorship programs within athletic teams, where older or experienced athletes can support and guide younger teammates. Peer mentors can provide valuable insights, advice, and serve as positive role models, helping athletes navigate challenges, including the risks associated with sports betting.
By implementing these strategies, athletic programs can actively protect their student athletes against the potential pitfalls of sports betting, promoting their overall well-being, and maintaining the integrity of collegiate sports.
By proactively introducing forward-looking measures, athletic programs will be displaying intention when it comes to addressing sports wagering and it will add immense value to their culture of a program as it establishes a standard that athletes have to meet while creating a support and vulnerable athletic community.