When you hear Mark Emmert decry a stated position by the organization he heads as “what often seems to be a hypocritical stance”, you’ve got to believe there’s some money at the end of it.
The possibility of sanctioned NCAA events being held in Las Vegas took a potentially huge leap Tuesday when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a controversial New Jersey gaming case.
The NCAA is among the plaintiffs fighting a New Jersey law passed in 2012 that would allow sports gambling in the state. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, as well as the Department of Justice, have sued arguing continued implementation of the 25-year-old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
PASPA was passed in 1992 to halt the spread of sports betting in the country. Such action is banned nationwide except for Nevada, which was “grandfathered” an exemption. Delaware, Oregon and Montana have the option of limited sports betting.
The Supreme Court could hear arguments as early as this fall, according to reports.
The NCAA has placed only one championship event in Nevada (1991 women’s basketball West Regional) citing sports gambling concerns.
“This is more than huge,” former UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood said of the Supreme Court’s consideration. “This opens up all kinds of possibilities.”
Livengood is now a consultant for Las Vegas Events, a management company interested in bringing events to the city.
The NCAA was thought to be moving toward allowing events in Nevada but was stymied by the New Jersey battle. In other words, the optics would be bad if the association was suing New Jersey while cozying up to allowing games in Nevada/Las Vegas.
Who the hell can afford optics these days? Certainly not the NCAA, if it wants to keep shelling out the big bucks. There’s at least one thing that happens in Vegas that doesn’t stay there. Emmert isn’t about to miss out on that if he can help it.