College athletes who wager on teams at their own school — but not on their own team — will face penalties beginning at a loss of one year of eligibility, according to modified reinstatement guidelines from the NCAA.
The NCAA’s Division I council coordination committee on Wednesday adjusted the guidelines, which previously called for permanent eligibility loss in those cases. The new guidelines will be applied to athletes currently serving wagering-related suspensions reported on or after May 2, when Iowa and Iowa State announced that athletes at their schools were being investigated for wagering.
“To be clear, Division I members do not encourage student-athletes to engage in sports wagering at any level, and the actions today to modify reinstatement conditions should not be interpreted as support for wagering behaviors,” Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, chair of the committee, said in a statement. “NCAA members continue to prioritize integrity of competition and felt that reinstatement conditions for violations of wagering rules should reflect that focus and, when possible, also accommodate opportunities for preventative education.”
The modified reinstatement guidelines will not help athletes such as Iowa football player Noah Shannon, who returned to the roster and resumed practicing with the team last month, hoping an adjusted policy would allow him to return to competition. Shannon in August was suspended for the season for making at least one wager on an Iowa team outside of football. Unlike other athletes in the state, Shannon was not charged criminally for wagering.
“I am heartbroken for Noah [Shannon] and his family that the NCAA has come to this conclusion,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement Wednesday. “Noah did not break any laws. He did not commit any crimes. And yet he is being severely over-punished by a membership committee that refuses to see perspective or use common sense. I have said many times that I think it is peculiar that the state of Iowa is uniquely the focus of this investigation. Noah is being sidelined because the NCAA is ruling on an investigation that they did not instigate, using an uneven system of justice to severely punish an excellent young man. It is just wrong.”