INDIANAPOLIS — The SEC has seen the rise in more gambling across different sports over the last five years.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey when asked about the new reality gambling brings to college athletics, said Olympic sports like volleyball, soccer, softball and even gymnastics are not immune from having bets placed.
"It was football and men's basketball and women's basketball in the postseason and baseball in the postseason if you go back five years," Sankey said during a Q&A session at the Associated Press Sports Editors summer conference on the campus of IUPUI. "Now it's all those sports all season long, incredible volume and it's volleyball, and its soccer and its softball. I haven't heard the gymnastics report for us yet but those are very different realities and dynamics that are emerging around us."
Within the SEC 11 state footprint, four states (Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee) allow sports betting along with more than half of the states in the country.
Greg Sankey became the Southeastern Conference commissioner in 2015. He is the conference's eighth commissioner.
Sankey said the SEC uses a monitoring service, US Integrity, to keep track the data and any issues that could arise from sports gambling.
"We need to learn what's happening," Sankey said. "We actually have a relationship with a monitoring service so every week we find out what's happening in our conference and what's happening nationally, we have an understanding of what's happening from volume and if there's any audits. If there's information that pops in gambling circles we learn pretty quickly."
Sankey said the SEC and the rest of college athletics did not see or plan for the new culture surrounding sports betting while discussing the impact on coaches and athletes.
"In a time when our young people are continually seeking more mental health support as a society if we are not open and attentive to the reality being creating from sports gambling then we are abdicating our responsibility," Sankey said. "This is a significant factor in their lives that has been introduced. ... It affects our coaches as well, plenty of pressure there at our level, they accept that but this is a changing dynamic that we have not at all been attentive, too."