If you think the NCAA won a major battle by getting FanDuel and DraftKings to stop offering daily fantasy sports for college athletics, think again. This move by the two main DFS websites is a dog and pony show designed to make the companies look better in the eyes of state legislators.
With 30 states looking at new laws governing daily fantasy sports, FD and DK made a business decision on college athletics. Not a so-called moral one. They don’t lose much by dropping amateur sports since these contests only add up to three percent of FanDuel’s revenue. Compare that to the estimated 20 percent of DraftKings’ income that comes from the NFL and it was an easy choice to drop college daily fantasy games.
The DFS companies lose very little revenue and increase their chances of getting favorable legislation passed. Had they kept offering “gambling” on college games, that would have just been another point to attack by lawmakers already opposed to these DFS contests.
This is one of many concessions DFS companies will have to make in order to avoid extinction. The industry enjoyed a few years of flying under the radar while raking in millions. Now they have to play by the rules if they are to keep the doors open.
Anyone with a brain can see the hypocrisy in the NCAA’s position. The NCAA is worried about the notion of their games being sullied by what they perceive as gambling. Yet, most of America views college sports as sullied already. Filthy actually.
Only the naive see college sports as some bastion of purity where the “student athletes” all play for the love of the game and are treated fairly by their universities.
The NCAA publicly says they are concerned about compromising student athletes who could get caught up in the gambling aspect of DFS. They don’t want folks like shady bookies getting their hooks into a QB, who could toss a couple of late game interceptions to help a DraftKings lineup featuring the opposing defense.
The NCAA wants to make sure they are the only ones with hooks in their student athletes.
While I hate to see FD and DK bow to the low-life’s that run college football and basketball, they made the right call. They lose very little to get a lot back in public perception. The move may not save their business in every state, but it has to help their position in most cases.
Betting on professional sports is a little easier to swallow than gambling on amatuer contests. At least for the old folks running state governments around the country who think all college athletes are getting a sweet deal trading their abilities for a scholarship.
As a hilarious side note to this story, FD and DK are being sued for $5 million by a former running back for Northern Illinois. According to ESPN, Akeem Daniels is actively suing both DFS giants for “knowingly and improperly exploited [their] accomplishments.”
I guess Daniels figured suing the NCAA or his alma mater for exploiting his accomplishments would be too difficult, so he went after a more viable entity.