COLLEGE PARK — The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland on Tuesday published their latest collaboration, “Gambling on Campus,” a wide-ranging investigation into universities and sports betting.
College students are in the highest risk group for problem gambling, yet the investigation shows universities have been slow to create policies, educational programs or restrictions on sports betting. That’s despite the aggressive expansion of sports gambling across the U.S. and abundant advertising at some college campuses.
The two UMD Philip Merrill College of Journalism centers surveyed 145 Division I public universities in the states where sports betting is legal to share their campus policies addressing gambling. The centers could only confirm that 23% had published sports betting policies.
“This investigation reveals stark differences in the way that universities are responding to legal sports betting. It also examines the complicated relationships between betting companies and some schools,” said Mark Hyman, Merrill College’s George Solomon Chair in Sports Journalism and director of the Povich Center. “I’m proud of the student journalists whose careful, persistent reporting produced these important stories.”
The project consists of five stories, a video narrative and other visuals from Merrill College students in Hyman’s Fall 2022 capstone class, the Howard Center and at the college’s Capital News Service bureaus, guided by faculty editors at the college.
The stories explore college students’ sports betting habits, university policies involving sports betting, the schools entering promotional partnerships with sportsbooks, how sports betting is being advertised on college campuses, and one university that is piloting a marketing initiative to combat problem gambling.
“The collaboration between the Howard and Povich centers underscores the importance of investigative reporting to shine a light on the high stakes, big money world of sports," said Kathy Best, director of the Howard Center. “These skills will make our students more valuable when they walk into newsrooms anywhere.’’
The project was also distributed nationally by The Associated Press and published by Capital News Service, Merrill College’s student-powered news outlet.
The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, established in 2011 by a gift from the Povich family, prepares students to be innovators and leaders in all facets of sports media. The center's unique, experiential curriculum and public programs elevate and amplify discussion of race, gender, politics and the world — just as Shirley Povich did each morning in The Washington Post.
The Howard Center, launched in 2019 by a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, gives Merrill College students the opportunity to work with news organizations across the country to report stories of national or international importance to the public.