As Villanova students prepare for another successful basketball season, there is one thing they cannot do: hammer the Wildcats’ money line.
Villanova’s gambling policy was in the spotlight this week after the New York Times published an article about gambling at colleges in states where sports betting is legal. The article highlighted Villanova banning students from betting on any Villanova athletic event, although sports betting is legal in the state of Pa.
Villanova has a policy statement on its website regarding its prohibition of gambling. Villanova’s statement says that gambling on any Wildcats sporting event is strictly prohibited for any athlete, and for any student.
The school says that the ban is in place because “Villanova University maintains an athletic program that promotes the educational experience of its student-athletes and sustains a clear line of demarcation between the collegiate and professional sports models.” However, the University’s description of the consequences for students caught breaking the rules is vague, stating “Any individual who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable University procedures that implement sanctions for students, faculty and staff.”
Although Villanova made this information available on its website, many students did not know about these rules until the New York Times article was released last Monday.
Many students felt confused by the policy. One Villanova student, who asked to remain anonymous, didn’t understand the need for a ban. “March Madness bracket pools are so popular at a basketball school like ‘Nova, so I don’t understand why they won’t let us gamble,” he said. “Gambling helps create school spirit, and the fans bets don’t impact the game. If the athletes aren’t betting, I see no problem and no need to ban gambling for students.”
Other students are confused on how Villanova will police this policy. Sean Fitzgibbons, a junior at Villanova and Club Hockey player questioned how the school could catch students who wager on the Wildcats. “I mean, I play hockey, so I don’t gamble, but all my non hockey friends do,” he said. “How is Father Peter going to find out? It’s so big here.”
As the new basketball season draws closer, bets are being placed on Villanova, but only time will tell if the school will bust the bettors.