In response to the United States Supreme Court striking down the federal ban on sports betting, the NCAA announced Thursday that it supports the new federal model and therefore is suspending its championship host policy related to sports wagering.
“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” NCAA president said Mark Emmert said in a press release. “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.
“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 added.
NCAA supports federal sports wagering regulation: https://t.co/gbyYM24EJ8
— NCAA (@NCAA) May 17, 2018
Before the 7-2 Supreme Court ruling on May 14, most of the country had been acting in accordance to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibited states from having their own sports gambling laws. Sports betting is only legal in four states — Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware — with Nevada being the lone state that allows single-game betting. The NCAA honored the PASPA by prohibiting championships from taking place in those states.
Now, states have the power to decide whether or not they want to legal sports betting. Almost 20 states have already proposed a bill that could legalize sports betting, according to the Washington Post, and 14 states could have legalized sports betting within two years, according to a Eilers & Krejcik Gaming report. New Jersey will be, in all likelihood, the first state to do so, but ESPN predicts Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia could follow soon after.
As for college athletics, the NCAA Board of Governors announced that it will temporarily allow championships to be held in states that have sports gambling. The first city that comes to mind is Las Vegas, which is now a potential host for NCAA Tournament games in the coming years, whether it be first, second, or regional round matchups. There will also be discussions during future Board of Governors meetings to discuss more permanent revisions regarding the championship host policy.
Also in its announcement, the NCAA made sure to acknowledge “the Board of Governors’ action does not impact NCAA rules that already prohibit sports wagering by student-athletes or member schools’ athletics employees, including coaches. Violations of any sports wagering rules remain subject to NCAA penalties.”
However, the NCAA admitted it will have to reconsider the consequences for those who legally bet on sporting events.