What Does the O Mean in Sports Betting?

Ever since the NCAA went through its formal reorganization in the fall of 2015, the big question in NCAA sports betting has been “What does the ‘O’ in the acronym NCAAFPROC mean? (No, that’s not a typo.)

Officially, the NCAA clarified in a press release that the ‘O’ stands for ‘over.’ As in, when a favorite wins that championship trophy by scoring more than the other teams combined, the winner is deemed to be the official ‘over’ in that particular game.

But fans and bettors have their own interpretations. Some people believe that the O in NCAAFPROC stands for ‘out’ as in, when a team wins the championship via a forfeit or a walkover, they are the ‘over’ team. Other folks think that the ‘O’ in the acronym stands for ‘odds’ as in, when the combined odds of all the teams participating in a game cancel out, the total is posted as a ‘push’ or a ‘place’ bet. Or you could chalk it up to ‘oh,’ as in, when there is a scoreless tie at the end of regulation, the team that scored first in overtime is deemed to be the ‘over’ team.

Well, all those interpretations are wrong, according to the NCAA. The ‘O’ in the acronym stands for ‘over’ — or at least it should.

Why Are We Still Confused About This?

The NCAAFPROC was established as part of the NCAA’s initiative to modernize college sports in the aftermath of the 2015 season, when the organization realigned its athletics division. The main goal was to bring more parity to the sport.

Prior to the realignment, there were 18 different conferences with different rules, regulations, and restrictions pertaining to sports betting. The 18 different governing bodies were then consolidated into three – Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, and Pacific 12 – and became the NCAA, the Big 12, and the Pac-12, respectively. (A fourth conference, the American Athletic, which is part of the “New American Sports Alliance,” remains outside of the NCAA’s regulatory jurisdiction and thus is not affected by the reform.)

The NCAA’s goal was to create a uniform approach to collegiate sports betting, but even now, a year and a half later, this is clearly not the case. While the general public and even many sportsbooks have adjusted to the new setup, the lines of communication within the industry have not always been the best, which has created unnecessary ambiguity.

What’s worse, some have even suggested that the confusion may have been deliberately fostered by the NCAA to create an uncertainty in peoples’ minds.

Don’t Blame The NCAA

When college football fans heard that the NCAAFPROC would be changing the way it handled football odds, the natural reaction was to blame the reform for the state of confusion that now plagues the sport. (For the record, the NCAA is not responsible for any injuries that may occur due to the misinterpretation of the ‘O’ in the code.)

While there is undoubtedly some blame to be leveled at the NCAA for not being more transparent about the changes, its responsibility should not be understated. The NCAA has worked hard to be as transparent as possible about the reforms, holding countless meetings with athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes, and even its long-time detractors – who have become fans – to ensure that everyone understands what is going on.

To their credit, the NCAA did a fantastic job of publicly disclosing the changes almost a year ahead of the 2017 season. In the meantime, bettors have had to scramble to figure out the proper way to enter bets and what to do when conflicts inevitably occur. It really is a testament to the good faith that the NCAA has shown throughout the entire process that they have become the target of so much vitriol when the public perceives that the lines of communication have been broken in the name of uniformity.

What’s Next For The NCAA?

Well, now that the dust has settled a bit, it’s time to take a breath and relax. This is one phase in a long process that will ultimately lead to a more streamlined and transparent system for the entire NCAA.

While the Big 12 and Pac-12 have adopted the ‘over’ system for their own internal operations, their approach to handling sports betting is still very much in line with the old regulations. This is a transitional phase, and while it might be frustrating to encounter problems with your favorite team, it should not be lost on anyone that the NCAA has taken the time to address these issues. As for the A-C-C logo that now appears on sportsbooks and wagering sites, this was simply to eliminate any doubts among readers that this blog article is, in fact, legitimate. (Of course, this also makes it far more identifiable. If you’re reading this on a mobile device, you might want to click through to the blog article to ensure that you get the full experience. You might also want to change your bookmarks to point to the new location.)

In the end, the goal of the NCAA – and any league, for that matter – is to provide as much transparency as possible to fans, students, and potential players. While there is no question that many problems have stemmed from this reform, it is also clear that the NCAA has taken the time to address these issues. And for that, we should all be thankful.