For NFL Players, All Bets Are Off

College bowl season is about to kick off and with that means a ton of side betting on the various games.  Fans will place bets on their favorite teams and even who will take down to the national title, that is unless you are a player in the National Football League.

Most of you likely know that NCAA athletes and even college athletic departments are not allowed to make any wagers on NCAA sports.  The obvious reasoning behind this is that they feel that athletes could be influenced by bookies to throw games.  Games such as college basketball are highly prone to game fixing and the NCAA does what they can to avoid that.

The National Football League actually goes a step further than the NCAA.  If you are a  player in the NFL, you are not allowed to gamble, period.  It doesn't matter if it is football, baseball, basketball, or bingo.  According to league rules, players are not permitted to gamble.  This ban also extends to league officials and anyone working for an NFL organization. 

About the only exception that the NFL makes for this policy is charity poker tournaments.  The only reason those events are allowed to pass is because the money collected from the events goes to charity and cash prizes are not awarded to participants. 

With that said, if events are held inside a casino, those are still off-limits.  The league office snubbed an event in Las Vegas in 2011 because it was held at the Golden Nugget.  Players were allowed to go to the event as cheerleaders but could not play in the event.

The NFL takes such a hard stance against gambling because they are trying to keep the integrity of their game intact.  A game fixing scandal would not only be damaging to one team, but to the league as a whole because fans would be suspicious as to how deep the cheating goes in the game.  All you need to do is look at the steroid controversy in Major League Baseball to see how a cheating scandal can have long term effects on the perceptions of a league.

While the NFL's policy is tough, it is one that is in place to protect both the league and the players.  With the Millions being made in the league by players, curbing one's gambling activities seems like a small price to pay.

This has been a collaboration with Daniel Smith, a fellow football fan and poker fan.