COLUMBUS, Ohio — Popular sports betting apps like Draft Kings and FanDuel allow people to bet on a wide variety of sports at both the professional and college level.
“Take a step back, and reevaluate your priorities and if you can't, we don't need you,” said Anthony Grant, the head men’s basketball coach at The University of Dayton in a press conference Tuesday evening.
The remarks come just days after he says his players received threats after a tough loss last week. Grant said it all stems from sports betting, which became legal in Ohio at the beginning of the year.
“It could really change the landscape of what college sports is all about and when we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me,” said Grant.
Grant is worried that actions like that could have a lasting impact on their mental health. Dr. Jamey Houle, the lead sports psychologist for OSU athletics, said that sports betting can affect the fan and athlete.
“Because it's an even more legal in the state of Ohio to to bet that maybe people feel more upset with the players, that they didn't play well or there is a loss or something like that,” said Houle. “Now with social media, people can have direct contact to the student athletes and that feels, you know, problematic.”
Houle said that his response to the added pressures is mindfulness. He tells his players that many people will have opinions on their game or online presence, but the key to succeeding in their sport and in life is staying present in whatever moment they’re in.
“We have zero control over what other people think about us and so our ability to reel it in and focus on what's right in front of us is going to help us kind of keep more consistent in our daily mental,” said Houle.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission condemned the threats made to the University of Dayton players.