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Former NBA Commissioner: "College Athletes Are More Easily Influenced" With Legal Sports Betting

With Legal Sports Betting, David Stern Worries About Corruption In College Athletics, Not For Professional Leagues

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Former NBA Commissioner David Stern feels that collegiate athletes are more susceptible to corruption than their professional counterparts.

Stern, who served as league commissioner from 1984-2014, was the keynote speaker at a symposium at Elon College in North Carolina last week. The topic of the symposium was the impacts of legalized sports betting.

“I think that college kids can be more easily influenced, especially in potentially corrupt cultures,” said Stern.

Last month, Sen. Jim Davis introduced SB 154, which would allow the state’s two tribal casinos to allow sports betting on both professional and collegiate athletics. The bill sparked debate in the state about the pros and cons of legalized sports betting.

According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Stern is in favor of the federal government creating and regulating a uniform system for the entire country to abide by, instead of allowing states to legalize the act individually.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at a similar conference last January in New Orleans and made it clear that he believes this model would be a mistake.

Under Stern’s watch as commissioner, the league saw arguably the worst gambling scandal in professional sports history. Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee, was involved in a point-shaving scheme and was illegally betting on games himself.

Stern told the symposium attendees that the legalization of sports betting will make leagues more proactive in stopping these scandals before they happen. Corruption aside, Stern echoed the sentiments of current commissioner Adam Silver who thinks that sports betting will be great for the game.

“I think it’s great for business,” said Stern. “I think it has its risks and issues, but I think the league will get past it in a good way.”

Stern joins Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred as proponents of sports betting legalization. At a luncheon in Boston last month, Manfred told reporters that he sees sports betting as a “great source of fan engagement

Manfred would also like to see the federal government provide a single framework for sports betting.