Working with the NCAA, former Mafia boss Michael Franzese has visited and spoken with student athletes at over 300 universities. The subject of an upcoming movie, ‘God The Father,’ Franzese believes sports gambling is more widespread now because of one’s access to it than at any time he was a captain in the Colombo crime family.
“Back in my day, I had 12 or 13 bookmakers working for me. We had a lot of athletes and people associated with the sport that were gambling with us, but we were the only place to go. You had to go to a bookmaker,” Franzese told The Jim Rome Show. “Today, it’s not only still going on, it’s more widespread and more extensive because now people can gamble anywhere; they can gamble on their phone.”
Franzese knows athletes today are more aware of sports wagering and believes more college athletes are involved in fixing games than professionals.
“[There] could be anywhere from 300-700 kids, all the sports combined, in one of my sessions. Every time, I leave I tell them ‘You got a gambling problem and if you don’t have one you’re going to know someone that has one, your teammate, maybe a relative in the family. It’s out there, it’s a problem. If you have a problem and if you think I can help you with it email me. I don’t need to know your name, I don’t work for enforcement, I’m not going to report this to the NCAA, email me because I want to help you through it,’” saidFranzese. “It has never ever failed me yet, in every school that I’ve ever visited, by the time I get back to my hotel room, I have emails from these student athletes that are dealing with, in some way shape or form either themselves or somebody they know, with a gambling problem. And some of them have talked about doing some things to compromise the outcome.”
Franzese says most college athletes don’t think it’s a big deal if they shave a few points and are easier targets by outsiders than professional athletes because they don’t make money.
“It’s never about winning or losing, it’s all about the spread,” said Franzese. “If you put it in their heads and say ‘Hey, you’re not causing your team to lose. You will shave a few points. What’s the big deal? In the meantime, we’re going to line your pockets you’re going to do pretty well. School isn’t paying you any money. Yeah, they’re giving you a scholarship, but you need money to walk around, right?’ And it gets in their heads and in a way they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. It’s unbelievable.”