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NCAA President Charlie Baker listens to remarks prior to being presented with the Adams Award during the Adams Presidential Center fundraiser gala at Granite Links in Quincy as we look at Baker saying that prop betting should have stayed in Vegas.
NCAA President Charlie Baker listens to remarks prior to being presented with the Adams Award during the Adams Presidential Center fundraiser gala at Granite Links in Quincy. Photo by Tom Gorman / USA Today Network.

NCAA president Charlie Baker hasn't been shy about his opposition to betting on college athletes through the best sportsbooks.

Under him, the NCAA has adopted the "draw the line" campaign to educate student-athletes about the risks of sports betting. It also aims to target viewers and fans of college athletics.

He's been pushing to ban prop betting on college games too, and several major areas have done so since Baker's first call in March. That includes Ohio sports bettingVermont sports bettingMaryland sports betting, and Louisiana sports betting. However, the SEC broadly is still undecided.

So Baker isn't the type to hold back when asked for his thoughts on how the changing sports-betting landscape is impacting college sports. And his latest blunt comments came at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and Affiliates Convention.

Baker wishes sports betting never left Nevada

"I kind of wish sports betting had just stayed in Vegas," he said, adding that with more states legalizing betting, it's become challenging for young people to avoid.

Sports betting is now legal in 38 states, a number that continues to grow since PAPSA was overturned in 2018. That toothpaste surely isn't going back into the tube, which Baker no doubt realizes. So instead, he's searching for ways to limit betting on college sports to minimize issues, and primarily player harassment.

It didn't take long during Baker's short one-year tenure so far for several such incidents to arise. It's often been tied to bettors who wagered through betting sites upset at a player for not doing enough to ensure their wager cashed.

Player harassment and other issues

There have been multiple reports of player harassment, but perhaps the most notable was tied to a high-profile player. North Carolina Tar Heels basketball star Armando Bacot said in March that he often gets angry messages after falling short statistically.

"It's terrible," he told USA Today. "Even at the last game, I guess I didn't get enough rebounds or something. I thought I played pretty good last game, but I looked at my DMs, and I got, like, over 100 messages from people telling me I sucked and stuff like that because I didn't get enough rebounds."

"I think it's definitely a little out of hand. But at the same time too, I get the point of it," he continued. "Like, if you bet a lot of money on something, and you're, like, one pick away and somebody messes it up, I understand the part of fans being mad. But it's annoying, too, at times."

Beyond the player harassment, there's also been instances of players and coaches themselves getting involved in betting. Some athletes at Iowa and Iowa State were charged with illegal sports betting, with a few getting suspensions.

Then there's Brad Bohannon, the former Alabama baseball coach who was fired after knowingly providing inside information to a bettor who wagered against his team during the 2023 SEC title game.

"Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity and competition and leading to student-athletes and professional athletes getting harassed,” Baker said in a March statement. “The NCAA has been working with states to deal with these threats and many are responding by banning college prop bets.”