DraftKings and FanDuel strike a deal with NCAA to suspend all college contests

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest providers of daily fantasy sports in the U.S., have simultaneously announced that they reached a deal with the NCAA to temporarily suspend college sports on both platforms after this weekend’s March Madness tournament ends.

While the contests weren’t necessarily a large portion of each platform (NCAA contests constitute just three percent of FanDuel’s total revenue), they didn’t sit well with the NCAA, who are traditionally very protective of using student athletes for profitable purposes. For example, the league doesn’t allow for-profit entertainment companies like EA Sports to use individual athletes’ names in their video games.

Plus, having cash prizes depend on the performance of student athletes undoubtedly led to ethical considerations as NCAA athletes aren’t allowed any form of payment or sponsorship while they are still enrolled in school.

In statements given to TechCrunch, both companies expressed they hope to work with various state legislatures and let them decide how to define the future of daily fantasy sports. As a refresher, Virginia recently became the first state to pass legislation regulating daily fantasy sports, and more than 20 others are in the process of writing similar legislation.

In the below statement, DraftKings reiterated their hope for a legislative-based solution:

“We have decided to indefinitely suspend college sports on the DraftKings platform after the conclusion of this week’s college basketball games. There are many passionate DFS players who love college sports, but after a productive dialogue with the NCAA, their member institutions, and lawmakers, we feel that this is the best path forward for the industry at this time.

We continue to see tremendous support for fantasy sports in legislatures across the country, with nearly 30 states advancing thoughtful and appropriate regulations for fantasy play. As an industry leader in consumer protections, we will work closely with the NCAA and lawmakers on a carve-out for collegiate sports in any proposed regulatory framework moving forward. DraftKings is committed to ensuring that fantasy sports players are able to continue to play these skill-based contests that bring them closer to the sports that they love.” – DraftKings

Similarly, FanDuel noted that states like Indiana have already passed sports laws with carve-outs barring amateur sports contests, and expressed hope that other states will follow.

The NCAA’s home state of Indiana and our home state of New York were two of the first states to take up this debate. Indiana has passed and New York is considering fantasy sports laws that protect consumers, protect the right to play fantasy sports, AND contain carve-outs stating fantasy contests involving amateur sports are barred in their states. The Massachusetts Attorney General issued regulations with a similar carve-out. We supported all of these efforts, and going forward we will actively support bills containing the same provisions. We are pleased that we can work together with the NCAA on smart regulations for the fantasy sports industry. – FanDuel Spokesperson