New trend hits South Plains; Gambling for grades - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/11/10

New trend hits South Plains; Gambling for grades

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - If you could make money by placing a wager on your college grades, would you make that bet?

A new website makes it possible for students at Texas Tech and a limited number of other schools. It's called Ultrinsic and they will pay top dollar for A's, a little less for B's and so on.

"Based on the expected performance of the student, we determine how much Ultrinsic will contribute to the incentive," said Jeremy Gelbart, Ultrinsic President.

There are a variety of ways students can place a bet. "They can create an individual course incentive on a particular course, They can create a semester incentive, which is on their overall GPA. And you can create a multi course incentive, which combines all their courses and they have to achieve their goal in all the courses, says  Gelbart.

Students at Texas Tech are thrilled to hear they can gamble on their grades. "Bet get an A, work hard, get paid," says incoming Texas Tech freshmen, Josh Pegram.

"If there is that added incentive to make a little extra cash for making an A, they may not be like oh a B is fine whatever," says Tech junior, Daniel Gerrish.

"Sometimes for college students money is more important to them, because they struggle to make ends," says Tech senior Chasen Smith.

But not all Tech students are willing to put their money in the pot. "I guess I would say I would have probably one of the worst lucks I believe," says incoming freshmen Ross Markley.

The way the site works is simple. If you're a C student and bet $100 you will make all B's this year, you pay $50 into the pot - Ultrinsic keeps a non-refundable percentage. And if you make the grade, well they match your bet. "A student at Texas Tech could only earn over 2,500 dollars over the course of this year," says Gelbart.

Transcripts are proof of how well a students does. And unlike Vegas, if you don't have the cards, you don't have the luck. If that's not enough, you can refer a friend and bet they will reach their wager. "That brings it beyond the cash incentive. When your friends are telling you, you have to study for an exam it introduces a new type of motivation," says Gelbart.

The company hopes it motivates students to get higher grades. But what's the catch? Texas Tech Law Professor Wes Cochran specializes in gambling law and he says the new wager is on thin legal ice. "The way this website tends to get around this is to say they've taken out the element of chance, that grades are due to skill, not chance so it's not gambling."

Ultrinsic says it's completely legal and it's a tool to get students the grades they've always wanted.

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