NCAA will now allow championship events in states where sports gambling is legal

Yahoo Sports

The NCAA has adjusted one of its policies pertaining to sports betting.

In a Thursday press release, the NCAA rescinded its long-standing rule that forbade NCAA championship events from taking place in states where sports wagering is legal.

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For years, the rule applied only to Nevada. But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to no longer restrict state-sponsored sports betting, the NCAA’s hand has been forced to adapt to new laws, meaning championship collegiate sporting events could be coming to Las Vegas in the coming years.

Previously, only events like bowl games and in-season college basketball tournaments could be held in Nevada. Now, Las Vegas will be able to host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and College Football Playoff.

When the Supreme Court’s ruling was made last May, the NCAA adjusted this rule, but did so on a temporary basis. The NCAA’s board of governors voted to rescind the policy altogether this week.

In doing so, the board also reiterated its stance on sports betting as a whole. As stated last year, the NCAA remains opposed to betting on amateur athletics while calling for “federal legislative sports wagering standards” with an emphasis on “integrity.”

“While the board stressed that an exemption of college sports in any federal or state legislation is desired, it emphasized that any proposed legislation should protect student-athlete well-being and the integrity of games,” the NCAA press release read.

NCAA President Mark Emmert answers questions at a news conference at the Final Four college basketball tournament, Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt York)
NCAA President Mark Emmert answers questions at a news conference at the Final Four college basketball tournament, Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt York)

After last year’s Supreme Court decision, NCAA president Mark Emmert said “integrity” and “student-athlete well-being” are the NCAA’s highest priorities when it pertains to sports betting.

“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 said.

“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.”

In the months since the Supreme Court ruling, seven states (in addition to Nevada) opened sportsbooks: Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Several other states are in line to follow suit, including Indiana — the state where the NCAA is headquartered.

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