In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the effects of gambling on college athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has recognised the impact of gambling on student-athletes and has taken steps to address this issue. One initiative that has gained significant attention is the NCAA gambling harm awareness program, run by EPIC Global Solutions. This case study will explore the implementation and impact of this program at the University of Michigan. Thanks to funding provided by Entain Foundation U.S., EPIC Global Solutions has provided a customized education and awareness player protection program to student-athletes, coaches, game officials, health care personnel, and support personnel, educating them on the risks associated with gambling and sports wagering integrity.
EPIC Global Services delivers ground-breaking harm minimization programs, safer gambling training, and class-leading advisory to help individuals and organizations across the highest risk sectors in the sports wagering ecosystem to minimize the risks posed by gambling harm. In collaboration with the NCAA, EPIC has developed a comprehensive program to educate college athletes about gambling risks. This program is designed to raise awareness among student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and provide them with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about gambling.
Implementation at the University of Michigan
The University of Michigan, known for its successful sports programs, has proactively addressed the issue of gambling among its student-athletes by engaging with EPIC and the NCAA for a visit in August 2023. EPIC has worked with the NCAA to visit around 75 college campuses per year and educate thousands of student-athletes on the risks that can stem from newly-legalized sports wagering across most states and other forms of gambling.
Speaking to around 170 student-athletes and staff members across five sessions in a two-day visit to the University of Michigan, EPIC’s head of delivery Mark Potter shared his lived experience of gambling harm during his time in professional sport as a means of ensuring that the students – who are prohibited from participation in most sports wagering activities and from providing pertinent information to other individuals who wish to do so – were aware of the potential pitfalls of overlooking the regulations or choosing to gamble beyond their means post-college.
Impact of the program
The impact of the EPIC Risk Management program at the University of Michigan has been significant. The program has raised awareness about the dangers of gambling among student-athletes and has equipped them with the knowledge to make informed decisions. According to a survey conducted by EPIC, 90% of student-athletes who participated in the program reported an increase in their understanding of the risks associated with gambling.
Furthermore, the program has also had a positive impact on the university’s overall sports culture. Coaches and staff have been able to identify and address potential gambling-related issues among their athletes, creating a safer and healthier environment for student-athletes.
“I think it’s becoming more and more important and something that’s going to continue to be at the forefront of every administrator’s mind.
With the growing popularity of sports betting and the legalization across different states and the access to student-athletes these days, it’s definitely been a key component of our educational efforts.
Ultimately, we want to protect the integrity of the sport. We can educate student-athletes on the reasons why we want to protect the integrity and also protect them as people, as we don’t want them to get into a problem gambling relationship.”
Danielle Davison, assistant athletic director, NCAA rules and NIL education, at University of Michigan.
“We are pleased that this collaboration has reached so many student-athletes.
The risks associated with sports wagering are abundant, and the education provided by EPIC Risk Management is invaluable for student-athletes, coaches, administrators and officials. We appreciate the teamwork to help protect the integrity of college sports and the well-being of everyone involved.”
NCAA executive vice president for regulatory affairs, Stan Wilcox.
In conclusion, the NCAA and EPIC gambling harm awareness program, implemented by EPIC Global Solutions at the University of Michigan, has been successful in educating student-athletes about the risks associated with gambling in their student-athlete environment. With the continued efforts of EPIC and the NCAA, it is hoped that more universities will adopt this program to create a safer and healthier environment for college athletes.