Phil Hellmuth Pokes Finger in Eye of NCAA

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

Is poker superstar Phil "Poker Brat" Hellmuth Jr. endangering the Stanford University football team?

Looks like!

The Stanford football team, like most college sports teams, is under the jurisdiction of governing body the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

And, as everybody knows, the NCAA is extremely uptight about all forms of gambling, especially when it concerns the impressionable young  college kids who play NCAA-sanctioned sports.

So the NCAA can't be too happy about the fact that a professional gambler, Hellmuth, is fraternizing with one of its member school's sports teams, the Stanford grid squad, and its coach.

Hellmuth resides in Palo Alto, California, USA, the same city where Stanford University is located.

On his blog at, Hellmuth recently wrote: "I texted Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh (Twitter name: @jimharbaugh) on Sunday to congratulate him on his big in-conference road win, and he texted me back asking me to speak in front of the team this week.

"And Jim invited me to fly with the team to the Wake Forest game in North Carolina.

"I spoke in front of the team about the importance of playing great whether or not you're winning big or losing big, just like I do when I play heads-up matches.

"The toughest champions are the ones that never, ever give up!   Before I could commit to going to North Carolina on the team plane, I had to make sure that I could make my other previous commitment to Eva and Tony Parker to emcee their charity poker tournament ( Saturday night in San Antonio.

"I found, and booked, a private jet that can leave Wake Forest at roughly 3 pm and arrive in San Antonio at 4:45 pm, and Eva's event begins at 5:30 pm.

"So now I have decided to go for it!" 

Go for what, Phil?

Getting the Stanford football team in trouble with the NCAA?

True, you gamble on poker, not on sports, but it's all the same to the prisses who run the NCAA.

They must be thrilled that someone who makes a living by gambling is distributing that message--overtly or not--to a bunch of college kids.

By the way, Hellmuth isn't the only one at fault here.

After all, if Harbaugh hadn't invited the "Poker Brat" to address the team and accompany it on the road, it wouldn't have happened.

The only reason this incident hasn't turned into a full-blown scandal--yet--is because the NCAA likely doesn't know about it.

NCAA personnel are quite busy, and probably don't have time to monitor the Internet blogs of professional poker players.

Maybe they should.

Tom Somach