The NCAA has long been a staunch opponent of legalized and illegal gambling, but the recent Supreme Court decision clearing states to regulate sports gambling is leading to some changes.
The NCAA announced Thursday that it supports a federal model that addresses legalized gambling. Also, the NCAA Board of Governors suspended the NCAA policy against holding championship events in states that offer sports wagering.
“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Sports wagering can adversely impact student-athletes and undermine the games they play.
“We are committed to ensuring that laws and regulations promote a safe and fair environment for the nearly half a million students who play college athletics.”
Emmert’s concern is that state guidelines will vary, prompting the board’s feelings that the federal government’s role will be highly important in the new landscape.
“While we recognize the critical role of state governments, strong federal standards are necessary to safeguard the integrity of college sports and the athletes who play these games at all levels,” Emmert said.
The NCAA has loudly opposed sports gambling for decades and strongly pushed its “Don’t Bet On It” campaign in the late 1990s. The organization even pushed for sports betting lines to be removed from newspapers.
Now with the landscape changing, the entity appears to be adjusting with the venue rule that will temporarily allow championship events to be played in states that offer sports wagering.
For example, that would open the door for the highly popular basketball tournament to be played in Las Vegas. It also would allow states who have already secured future events to keep them should they unveil sports wagering.
The Board of Governors may consider a more permanent revision of the championship hosting policy at future meetings.
The NCAA also reiterated that current sports wagering rules remain subject to NCAA penalties. The board also kept the policy that prohibits sports gambling advertising from being displayed at NCAA championships and college football bowl games.
—Field Level Media