NCAA to relax sports betting data restrictions 

  • New rules say data must be publicly available
  • MAC asked for rules interpretation after signing Genius deal

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will allow its athletes, colleges and conferences to sign data distribution deals with gambling firms.

The US college athletics body’s rules committee for its top-tier division one institutions met on 26th April and ultimately approved a relaxation of its regulations.

The caveat is that such data should be available to the general public, according to Sportico.

The NCAA decision came after the Mid-American Conference (MAC) requested a clarification on the rules around data distribution, following the college conference signing a wide-ranging partnership with Genius Sports last month.

According to Sportico, that deal was only for data distribution rights and sponsorship, but could be expanded to include data specifically for the gambling industry.

Until now, the NCAA has prohibited athletes, colleges and conferences from providing information such as data, but the updated guidelines could now pave the way for rights holders in college sports to cash in on the rapidly expanding US betting market.

The last softening of the NCAA’s rules around the gambling industry came in January 2020 when the division one council said organisations could promote gambling at championship events.

Earlier this year, amid a period of significant change in college sports where student athletes have gained the ability to sign deals to market their name, image and likeness (NIL), the NCAA announced a revamp of its constitution. Those new guidelines will give greater power to schools and conferences, while relinquishing the NCAA’s role as the exclusive rule maker in US collegiate sports.

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