Benjie Cherniak, Don Best Sports: Integrity starts with self-policing

Benjie Cherniak, President of Don Best Sports, spoke at the recent Betting on Sports America conference in New Jersey about the challenges that college sports can present, and the role that data sharing can play in identifying integrity issues.

College sports can present a greater challenge in comparison to pro-sports when it comes to upholding integrity, due to the susceptibility to match fixing and corruption. Collaborative efforts between states and operators, according to Cherniak, are needed to effectively identify the most suitable strategies in preventing corruption among players.

He explained: “I think if you compare it to pro-sports and its equivalents, it is more challenging, particularly as it pertains to the player dynamic. In professional sports, you have players who are making significant sums of monies, and such, the likelihood of them engaging in illegal activity relating to match-fixing becomes minimised because they have too much to lose.

“When it comes to integrity, obviously if we share data among operators within a state or even amongst various states and its various operators, the more data that we have within the legislative space, the more that we can share those numbers and what betting trends look like to detect any issues relating to integrity.

“But to me, I think the biggest part of this is not just monitoring companies and operators through policing the industry, but the university institutions policing themselves. It starts with running a clean programme, and having an athletic director who as a leader has a lot of integrity – and hiring coaches who are going to recruit players using the strict guidelines that they are supposed to adhere to.

“And if you as a coach at your university, and your recruiting practices are cutting corners on how they bring on players, that player is going to see a culture that is a bit more lax, that is a bit more towards cutting corners and more susceptible to making bad decisions that could play into the integrity space.”