Following the recent Supreme Court decision, the NCAA announced that it supports federal regulation of sports gambling and will now temporarily allow states that sponsor single-game sports wagering to host championship events.
The move opens the door for Las Vegas to host a men’s basketball tournament regional and other NCAA events in the future.
“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president, in a Thursday announcement. “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.”
The Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal ban on sports gambling left the issue in the hands of states, which can now manufacture their own regulatory legislation.
But the NCAA is seeking and backing the federal regulation of any legalized gambling structure.
“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 in the release.
The NCAA has long maintained a stance against sports gambling and the massive culture around wagering. In December, however, Emmert said he wanted states to create laws to ban sports gambling on college sports if the Supreme Court decided to overturn the federal ban.
He also acknowledged that widespread legalization would force the NCAA to rethink its policies.
“Obviously, if you wind up with sports gambling everywhere in the country, we’re not going to stop playing championships,” Emmert said during the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York City.
But the NCAA, per its release, could soon create a permanent policy to allow states with sports gambling to host events.
It’s a monumental announcement for an organization that continues to wrestle with the boundaries for amateur athletes at the center of a multimillion-dollar sports complex.