Tennessee has addressed gambling with its football players in hopes of staving off issues that are beginning to crop up at other schools. The Vols had a team meeting last week to discuss the potential pitfalls of sports wagering.
Alabama’s baseball team recently fired its head coach for allegations of gambling while Iowa and Iowa State both have had recent issues with wagering, which is now legal, and remarkably easy. Any American citizen is just one app away from placing a bet so, college football players – with NIL money to spend – have and will continue to be tempted.
“Man, you look around the country right now and obviously there’s schools (with gambling issues),” Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren said during the Vol Report. “I’m not going to talk about them, but there are schools that they’re getting a lot of people that coaches, players, different people around the program that either are placing bets themselves or giving out information for bets or whatever, getting other people to put money down for bets.”
Since gambling is legal, players and coaches won’t face criminal charges if they’re caught. However, the NCAA obviously has outlawed the practice just like every professional and amateur sports organization. A serious charge of gambling could wreck a player’s career. Widespread gambling could lead to the most serious NCAA sanctions.
“It’s illegal from the NCAA. You can’t do it. It’s not allowed,” Warren said. “We literally just had a meeting earlier this week about it because all this stuff came out with those schools and just about protecting yourself and about being smart. And obviously gambling is just that, right? It’s a gamble, right? It’s not smart to do with your money. So end of the day, it’s like I’m sure there’s things you can gamble on other than sports, right?
“So if that’s what you want to do, then sure, go ahead. But, at the end of the day, it’s (avoiding gambling) just trying to protect us and keep yourself away from from the big bad NCAA, right?”
Simply gambling on a sport, especially one in which you play can lead to more severe actions, such as providing inside information that may help others place bets. Players are almost assuredly asked about such information from others they see at school or in the community. That’s not only bad from a gambling standpoint. It could also undermine the Vols’ chances to win if an opposing team knows too much about what is going on inside the locker room, particularly with injuries.
“Nobody wants someone that’s going to be giving out secrets or tips,” Warren said. “Or advantages to people to help them make money and whether they make a little money off it or not. It’s something you don’t necessarily want in your program. And so definitely trying to keep that to a minimum and trying to restrict it as much as possible is for sure the smart thing to do.”
Will there be a serious scandal in college football concerning gambling? Almost certainly. Tennessee is taking whatever steps necessary to avoid a potential disaster.