Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has some harsh words for Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan and his reaction to accusations that point guard Nick Balathes ran up hundreds of dollars of debt playing online poker.
"Donovan told reporters the situation is ‘not even a story.' And here I thought Billy Donovan was a basketball coach. When exactly did he become a newspaper editor?
"Although it's not illegal or against the rules for athletes to play on-line poker; it certainly should be a concern. Especially at Florida, where another point guard a few years ago -- Teddy Dupay -- was booted from the team after a 6-month-long gambling probe by police.
"It should be noted that the NCAA does not prohibit athletes from playing on-line poker, and Calathes was cleared of any wrongdoing by UF's own internal investigation."
After UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said in a statement that the organization had "reviewed everything very thoroughly" and were satisfied with the results, Bianchi goes on to insist that "gambling is a huge problem on college campuses and you certainly don't want your starting point guard running up significant debt (reportedly $600) in any form or fashion. This time it was on-line poker, but betting on games is just another click or two away."
One online gambling industry analyst, who declined to be named told Gambling911.com that "Bianchi is full of s***".
"Gambling is a huge problem on college campuses? Where is the research study for this one?"
Research on college students has been relatively recent, and findings vary from study to study. It is generally thought that 5-9% of college men and 1-2% of college women are problem gamblers. Compare those numbers with the nearly half of America's 5.4 million full-time college students who abuse drugs or drink alcohol on binges at least once a month, according to a new study that portrays substance and alcohol abuse as an increasingly urgent problem on campuses across the nation.
Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher