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May 08, 2013

Do college golfers have a gambling problem? You bet, study says

Posted at 2:21 PM by Josh Sens | Categories: Gambling

Unlike Captain Renault in Casablanca, you might not be shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that gambling is a problem among NCAA athletes.

What might surprise you is how badly collegiate golfers are bitten by the bug.

As USA Today reported this week, the results of the NCAA’s quadrennial survey on gambling are in, and guess who falls into unflattering light?

Male college golfers, who according to the data, are more than twice as likely to wager on sports than student-athletes in other collegiate sports. Not only that, while gambling has either declined or leveled off in other sports since the NCAA's first quadrennial survey in 2004, the figures show a rise in golf and golf alone.

Friendly wagering, of course, is engrained into golf culture. But we’re not just talking about dollar skins.

According to the survey, the tendency applies toward all forms of gambling, from buying lottery tickets to playing casino games. College golfers are also the heavy favorites among NCAA athletes to have a relationship with a bookie.

Suffice to say, the picture of college golf presented by the data contrasts starkly with the Windex-clean image that the game likes to put forth.

The NCAA isn’t pleased about it either.

As you might expect, the survey has stirred concern among NCAA officials and prompted some soul searching among college golf coaches.

But pointing to a problem is the easy part. Policing it is another matter altogether.

Here’s a safe bet: when the next quadrennial survey comes around, the issue won’t have gone away.

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