Lyons On Betting: 100% More Potential For Scandal

Lyons On Betting: 100% More Potential For Scandal

On May 14, the United States Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for individual states to legalize sports betting as they see fit.

West Virginia, which had passed the WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act earlier this month, is now one of just six states which has passed a bill legalizing sports betting. Twelve more states have taken notice and have introduced similar bills of their own.

While there are several of questions to be answered, there is little doubt that there will be major ramifications and changes to the complexion of the sports betting world as we know it.

No, there aren’t likely to be earth shattering scandals in the professional sports leagues, as the cons of fixing a game far outweigh the pros.

But the college sports world? That’s an entirely different story, for the athletes who generate massive television ratings and remain the key cog in a multibillion dollar industry aren’t being paid for their role.

WVU Director or Athletics Shane Lyons realizes this, and was quick to acknowledge that the potential for scandal is rife in the college game when he spoke about the matter Monday at Pete Dye Golf Club.

“There is 100 percent (more potential for scandal),” Lyons conceded. “That’s why we made a trip down to Charleston a couple weeks ago to talk about the vulnerabilities of college athletics and the cases that most recently happened. There were four cases that involved with point shaving in collegiate institutions. It happened at Northwestern, Arizona State, Tulane and Boston College.

“It’s a lot easier to entice a young man or a young lady that is not making a lot of money. They’re on scholarship and it’s a lot easier to entice those individuals and that’s why we’re more vulnerable than the professional leagues when it comes to point shaving issues.”

As an athletic director of a flagship university in a state that has already legalized sports wagering, Lyons finds himself in a unique position.

In order to combat the potential of corruption, he will take a number of precautions, including hiring additional compliance staff.

“My job is first and foremost is to protect the integrity of the institution of the athletic department and the other part is to protect the integrity of the institution as a whole,” Lyons explained. “With legalized gambling coming up I will have to hire additional compliance staff for monitoring and looking at it as well as the educational aspect of it. There is going to be cost associated with that and we’re going to have to step our game up.”

Lyons maintains that he is not necessarily against gambling in college athletics, for his sole focus remains on avoiding wrongdoing at any cost possible.

“It’s interesting, obviously there is already gambling occurring right now in the underground with illegal sports gaming, but it will now be more in your face,” Lyons noted. “I don’t really have a position from the gambling standpoint. It is what it is, my point is to make sure that if it’s going to happen that my job is to protect the institution and the department from any issues happening.

“It’s not about whether I agree or disagree with gambling, it’s putting the right mechanisms in place to make sure we’re doing the right things for our athletes and protecting the department.”

West Virginians will likely be able to place wagers on college and professional athletics by the time football season rolls around.

Bets would need to be placed through one of the state’s five casinos, which are working on rolling out mobile apps to increase availability.

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