On. Oct. 10, 2019, Purdue trustees will consider a policy that would ban faculty and staff from making otherwise legal bets on Purdue games and athletes. Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the policy is meant to reduce the potential that student-athletes feel pressure at a time when a new Indiana law allows sports wagering. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
On. Oct. 10, 2019, Purdue trustees will consider a policy that would ban faculty and staff from making otherwise legal bets on Purdue games and athletes. Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the policy is meant to reduce the potential that student-athletes feel pressure at a time when a new Indiana law allows sports wagering. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
WEST LAFAYETTE – Since Purdue President Mitch Daniels first hinted three weeks that the university was on the verge of telling staff, faculty and, potentially, 44,551 students they couldn’t make what now are legal bets on Boilermaker sports, the Big Ten school has been quiet on details heading toward a possible Oct. 10 decision by Purdue’s trustees.

But since then, at least one other school – perhaps the first in the nation – rolled out its own policy, one that could serve as a starting-point template as universities try to protect their student-athletes and the integrity of their schools at time when legalized sports wagering comes closer to home.

Saint Joseph’s University – a private school in Philadelphia, competing in 20 men’s and women’s Division I sports – put a policy on sports wagering in its student handbook in late September.

The upshot, taken straight from the handbook, is a policy that blankets every corner of a campus with a student enrollment of 8,086 and 308 full-time faculty: “Students, faculty, staff, contractors and members of the Board of Trustees are not permitted to place an otherwise legal sports wager on any team, contest or event, or individual affiliated with the Saint Joseph’s University Department of Athletics.”

Violations, the policy says, would be handled under Saint Joseph’s regular disciplinary procedures for student, faculty and staff. Contractors caught betting on the Hawks would find their contracts with the university terminated.

If Saint Joseph’s really was first with a ban on betting on the home team – Purdue officials said they haven’t found any other universities that beat the Atlantic 10 Conference school and the NCAA didn’t immediately respond to questions – geography had a lot to do with it, said Jill Bodensteiner, Saint Joseph’s athletic director.

When, in 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports wagering in most states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware – all in Saint Joseph’s backyard – were among the early adopters among states legalizing sports betting at licensed casinos and on mobile devices. Indiana joined those ranks in 2019, with the first sports book bets placed at casinos on Sept. 1 and the first mobile wagering starting on Oct. 3.

“That just gave us the opportunity to start thinking about the issues very deeply before some other school had to,” said Bodensteiner, who started as Saint Joseph’s AD in June 2018, after more than 20 years in various roles at Notre Dame. “That’s maybe why we’re a little bit ahead of the game.”
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