This past Friday, Butler University told its faculty and students not to put their money where their mouth is.
The school’s administrators adopted a new “Sports Wagering Policy” that effectively bans betting on Butler sporting events.
“The goal of the policy is to foster a culture of honesty, integrity, and fair play in keeping with The Butler Way and to help protect Butler teams, student-athletes, and coaches from undue influence and improper conduct,” a school press release said. “Butler’s student-athletes and those providing support to the athletic program are already prohibited from engaging in sports wagering by NCAA rules.”
The ban extends to the following members of the Butler committee:
- Independent contractors
The details: What’s in the ban?
In short, the university explained that allowing its students and employees to bet on Butler games gives them an unfair advantage:
“The policy prohibits all Butler trustees, faculty, staff, students, and independent contractors from placing wagers on Butler sporting events since they may be afforded greater access to information that could impact the outcome of competitions.”
The university’s sports wagering page provides more insight into the rule change. The policy specifically prohibits three things:
- Influencing the outcome of a game (fixing or point-shaving).
- Placing a bet on Butler even through legal gambling avenues.
- “Using nonpublic or exclusive information concerning a Butler University student-athlete or team to engage in sports wagering.”
- No communicating that nonpublic or exclusive information.
As for punishments, the university’s policy says that staff, faculty, and contractors could be subject to termination. Students caught betting on Butler teams risk dismissal.
The history: What led up to the policy?
To understand how Butler came it its decision this past week, you’d have to drive about 65 minutes northwest to the campus of Purdue University.
On Oct. 10, 2019, the school’s Board of Trustees approved a sports wagering policy. That edict banned faculty, staff, and non-athlete students from betting on Purdue teams.
Needless, to say, the move was not a popular one with some Purdue students. Brittany Jones, a Purdue student and Las Vegas native, told news station WISH 8 she felt betting on Boilermaker competitions was an expression of school pride.
“I think Purdue is wrong for that. I think that if their students feel passionate about their team and they love their team, they should be allowed to bet on them,” Jones said.
What’s interesting about the ban is that the university won’t let students enter any March Madness brackets or fantasy leagues that require an entry fee.
“March Madness brackets are still allowed and any awards associated with them are fair game, as long as nobody has to pay to be involved in the pool,” the school’s newspaper, The Exponent, wrote in November. “Fantasy leagues are also acceptable under the same condition.”
Looking ahead: Butler primed for another postseason run
The Bulldogs men’s basketball team has had an interesting season so far, starting out hot but then cooling as they entered conference play.
The teams started the season 9-0 before suffering their first loss against Baylor, who many regard as one of the top three teams in the nation.
The team went on to win six more in a row, bringing their record to 15-1.
However, the Bulldogs are 2-4 in their past six games, including three consecutive losses to Big East opponents: Seton Hall, DePaul, and Villanova.
Tonight, the Bulldogs will match up against Villanova on Bulter’s home court.
As for the Bulldogs chances in March Madness, ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi has Butler as a No. 5 seed in his Bracketology update last night.
Butler’s March Madness seeding is still up in the air, though. The team’s poor Big East performance doesn’t bode well. After all, they have to finish out the season against nine conference opponents.
Whatever the result, Bulter’s administrators have made it clear that its employees and students cannot bet on the Bulldogs.