Mind, Body and Sport: Gambling among student-athletes

Research and Data
Author(s): Jeffrey L. Derevensky and Tom Paskus
Year Published: 2014


NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline convened nearly two dozen scientists, clinicians, policy experts, team physicians, administrators, coaches and student-athletes in November 2013 to discuss the myriad mental health issues facing today’s NCAA student-athletes, which included gambling among student athletes.


Quantitative Data Highlights

  • 57% of male student-athletes reported gambling in some form during the past year.
  • 39% of female student-athletes reported gambling in some form during the past year.
  • 1.9% of males and 0.2 percent of female student-athletes exhibit clinical signs of problem gambling.
  • 26% of male student-athletes report sports wagering for money despite NCAA prohibiting regulations (8% of these males report gambling on sports at least monthly).
  • Males who participate in NCAA golf are approximately 3x more likely to wager on sports (or engage in other gambling behaviors) than other student-athletes.


Identified Risk Factors

  • Being male
  • Male NCAA golf student athlete


Identified Protective Factors

  • Increased accessibility
  • Policies prohibiting gambling on campus


Qualitative Data Highlights

  • Student-athletes report that coaches and teammates are their primary influences, so programs targeting those people – particularly coaches – are helpful.
  • Every person with a gambling problem tends to seriously impact a dozen other people: boyfriends, girlfriends, peers, teammates, coaches, parents and employers.


Identified Challenges

  • Connecting the message of gambling prevention as a similar concern to alcohol and drug use prevention.


Identified Actions

  • Approach the issue of gambling harm as being among a number of things that can negatively impact student health and well-being to help the message resonate with college campuses.


Read Full Research Article


Derevensky JL, Paskus T. Mind, body and sport: Gambling among student-athletes. NCAA.org. November 5, 2014. Accessed November 17, 2023. https://www.ncaa.org/sports/2014/11/5/mind-body-and-sport-gambling-among-student-athletes.aspx?print=true.

Further Reading