NCAA championship tournament ban
The NCAA will no longer hold championship tournaments in states that permit betting on single games.
Chancellors and presidents from all three NCAA divisions approved the measure Thursday, saying it applies to "any session of an NCAA championship." It does not apply to states that allow parlay betting, lottery tickets, pull tabs and sports pools.
The move came one day after a federal judge denied a request by professional sports leagues and the NCAA to halt Delaware's planned sports betting lottery until a legal challenge is resolved.
A 1992 federal ban on sports betting exempted four states — Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon — that already offered sports gambling. Delaware wants to allow betting on single games, and on sports other than professional football. The sports leagues contend that Delaware's new lottery goes beyond what is allowed by the exemption.
The NCAA has taken a similar tack before. In 2001, the governing body banned postseason games from South Carolina and Mississippi to protest the use of a Confederate images on the statehouse grounds.
Wagering, however, is an issue NCAA officials believe poses a threat to its games, and the organization has consistently taken a hard line against allowing more single-game betting.
In 2006, FBI agents were even dispatched to the NCAA men's basketball tournament to discuss gambling. It became clear they were needed when a couple of athletes got text messages from gamblers seeking inside information, an NCAA official said at the time.
The NCAA also has launched a Web site to advise schools to not allow ads or fundraisers that promote gambling, and has been studying how prevalent gambling is in college sports.
With states looking to find new revenue streams, some have turned to legalizing new forms of gambling.
Delaware, for example, believes it will raise $53 million from a sports betting lottery that was approved by the General Assembly in May. It is the only state east of the Rocky Mountains to offer legalized sports wagering.
The policy, however, allows sports pools, ending fears at the University of Montana in Missoula. Montana hosted three Football Championship Subdivision playoff games last fall, but state and university officials argued that Montana law allows betting on fantasy sports leagues, not on the outcome of single events.
"I applaud the NCAA for coming to a commonsense conclusion that preserves Montana's right to host playoff and tournament games," Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said in a prepared statement. "Montana wholeheartedly supports its student athletes. Along with the NCAA, we remain committed to protecting the integrity of collegiate sports."
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