UNC Hoops Star Armando Bacot Says Bettors Levied Threats on Social Media

Armando Bacot, one of the most recognizable faces in college basketball, says he faced a myriad of threats via social media this year.

UNC’s Armando Bacot dunks the ball during a Tar Heel game in February 2024. Bacot says he faced many threats on social media from enraged sports bettors this season. (Image: CBS Sports)

The abuse, Bacot says, extended to this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament. Bacot’s University of North Carolina Tar Heels, a one-seed in the West Region, lost last week to No. 4 Alabama by two points.

The 24-year-old Bacot capped off his five-year career at UNC with over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

During what was his final collegiate game in the Sweet 16, the 6′ 11″ forward scored 20 points on seven for 12 shooting and a perfect six for six at the free throw line. He also had 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots.

It wasn’t enough for some sports bettors.

Social Media Threats 

Bacot said after UNC’s upset loss to Alabama that he heard from many infuriated sports bettors who apparently had him claiming more rebounds than the 10 he grabbed and UNC winning the Sweet 16 matchup.

I thought I played a pretty good game,” Bacot said after the defeat. “But I looked at my direct messages and I got over 100 messages telling me I suck and stuff like that because I did not get enough rebounds.”

UNC’s loss was put on R.J. Davis’ shoulders by college basketball analysts. Davis, who passed Michael Jordan on the UNC all-time scoring list in February and was the Tar Heels’ leading scorer this season, shot four for 20, including zero for nine from behind the arc.

Bacot says he was still the scapegoat for many angry sports bettors.

“I understand the fans being mad, but it’s annoying at times,” Bacot said. “I think [sports betting] is a little out of hand. I get the point of it. You bet a lot of money on something, and you’re one pick away, and somebody messes up.”

NCAA Action

The NCAA and its president, Charlie Baker, the former governor of Massachusetts who signed that state’s sports betting bill into law, is working to curb such player threats as the ones Bacot faced. Baker’s focus is convincing state gaming regulators where sports betting is permitted to prohibit player props involving student-athletes.

“We know some bettors are harassing student-athletes, so that’s why we are advocating for policy changes at the state level and launching monitoring tools around championships to refer serious threats to law enforcement,” Baker said last month in announcing the NCAA’s latest responsible gambling campaign, “Draw the Line.”

Just four states continue to allow sportsbooks to take bets on a college athlete’s individual performance — Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Wyoming. Oddsmakers in Washington, D.C., also take such wagers. Online sports betting in North Carolina debuted on March 1, 2024, though college player props are not allowed.

The NCAA men’s March Madness tournament is down to the Final Four. The University of Connecticut, the defending champions, has the shortest odds of winning the national title at -195. A $100 winning bet on those odds nets $51 and change.

Purdue is at +205 and Alabama and North Carolina State are at +1600.  

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