After months of negotiations, the NCAA has reached an agreement with major daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel regarding offering contests pertaining to college sports.
Both sites have chosen to voluntarily suspend all contests involving college sports indefinitely, the company officials told ESPN’s David Purdum. The decision applies to all states in which the companies operate daily fantasy sports and the college contests will cease after Monday’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game.
“We appreciate and commend DraftKings and FanDuel’s action to stop offering contests involving college, high school and youth sports,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday. “This action culminates months of hard work between all parties to reach a place that is good for amateur sports and most importantly, the young people who participate. We will work diligently with our member schools over the coming year to ensure such amateur sports ‘carve outs’ are included in pending states’ legislation.”
The online daily fantasy sports industry has come under scrutiny in recent months as multiple states introduced legislation to regulate fantasy sports. In October, the NCAA told both companies that they could not advertise during the NCAA’s championship events after FanDuel and DraftKings did not acquiesce to a request to stop college sports contests. Currently, both sites are prohibited from operating in Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York, and Washington state.
“The future of fantasy sports will be defined in those state governments, where leaders are hearing a resounding call from their constituents who want to continue to play the games they love,” a FanDuel spokesperson told Purdum. “The action we are seeing in states across the country makes it clear: the future is bright for the millions and millions of people who play fantasy sports.”
Both companies maintain that fantasy sports are a game of skill and, therefore, should not be subject to the same regulations as gambling. However, the NCAA, which has long opposed the contests, considers them a form of sports wagering. The ongoing discussions between the NCAA and both major fantasy sports entities led to Thursday’s decision to end the college contests on both sites.
“We have made clear at every point in this national debate that daily fantasy sports competition should not be allowed to be conducted using college, high school and youth sports programs,” Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer, told ESPN in a statement.