NCAA Gets Proactive On Gambling

Before the West Virginia Mountaineers took the practice court Thursday, the team had a little sit-down — with the FBI.

Special agent Tom Metz was invited by the NCAA to explain to the players how gambling on sports, especially on games involving their own teams, could ruin their lives, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Acosta.

"You have a lot of people out there. They want to be your friends for the wrong reasons," Metz tells the West Virginia players, who face Texas on Thursday night in the Sweet 16 of the tournament.

"We are trying to say to the student-athlete [that] they have a lot to lose," Metz adds.

NCAA gambling official Rachel Newman-Baker told the players, "If it's an NCAA-sponsored sport at either the college or professional level, you would not be allowed to bet on it, OK?"

This year athletic officials expanded their anti-betting program from the tournament's Final Four teams to the Sweet 16. It's an admission that the problem is bigger than the NCAA once thought.

Three years ago, an NCAA survey found 29 percent of its Division I male athletes had bet on sports — and that 2 percent had actually been asked to throw a game. Forget the figures on the scoreboard, those are the numbers that make the NCAA nervous.

The NCAA's biggest fear is "point-shaving," where gamblers manipulate players into missing shots or playing weak defense in order to bring the final score within the "point spread" set by oddsmakers in Las Vegas, where betting on the games is legal. A difference of a couple of points in the final score can mean winning or losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stevin Smith was sent to prison for shaving points at Arizona State University in the early 90s. "I made a hell of a mistake that cost me my NBA career," Smith says.

Smith plays now in Russia. In a rare interview, he told CBS News that the pre-game lectures will make a difference.

"That's something that should have happened a long time ago. I think it would have prevented some things. It would have prevented me from doing what I did ... had I known the consequences," Smith admits.

West Virginia coach John Beilein welcomed the FBI visit.

"I wish they listened to me that attentively in some of our meetings because our guys were on the edge of their seat," Beilein says.

Just in case, the NCAA stays in constant contact with gambling officials in Las Vegas, as well as with the FBI, to get the message across.