Last week, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of New Jersey and deemed the federal law banning sports betting in most states unconstitutional.

The state challenged PASPA and most major national sports leagues, including the NCAA. As the dust settles, the Garden State looks to move forward and open sportsbooks in Atlantic City and other locations during the summer.

We reached out to the 22 Division I universities in New Jersey and neighboring Pennsylvania to gauge their reactions to the decision. The two Big Ten rivals, Penn State and Rutgers, commented.

Reactions on NJ sports betting

Penn State released this university statement the day of the Supreme Court’s decision:

“The law adopted by Pennsylvania in anticipation of this decision outlines a temporary regulation process that will take months to complete. As the largest FBS intercollegiate athletics program in Pennsylvania, we will be monitoring this issue and its process closely, and will actively engage when necessary to see that the interests of the University and its student-athletes are represented appropriately.”

Rutgers gave this statement on last week Wednesday from athletic director Patrick Hobbs:

“As an NCAA member institution, Rutgers remains committed to adhering to all association bylaws. These rules prohibit sports gambling of any kind by student-athletes, coaches, administrators, or anyone else involved in college athletics. Monday’s Supreme Court ruling does not alter our approach or position on this matter.”

Philadelphia-based Big 5 members La Salle, St. Joseph’s, and Temple declined to comment. Monmouth University, a school very close to the proposed William Hill sportsbook at racetrack Monmouth Park, also declined to comment.

Responses from other schools outside the Delaware Valley

Other major universities reacted to the May 14 decision. The Rev. John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, issued a statement about the ruling which allows states to legalize sports gambling:

“As various parties consider implications of (Monday’s) Supreme Court decision, we urge all to recognize that in intercollegiate sports the athletes are first of all students, and everything should be done to preserve the integrity of the competition and promote the well-being of the student-athletes who compete.”

Joe Castiglione, athletic director at the University of Oklahoma, released this statement:

“We have been tracking this issue and have been anticipating a decision. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, we’re processing the details and trying to gain a clearer understanding of all of the considerations involved. As a department, we have long been dedicated to educating our student-athletes about impermissible activities, including gambling, as well as monitoring what we’re capable of at the institutional level.

“Going forward, I think it’s important for universities and colleges to seek the assistance of our respective states in developing a regulatory approach in order to properly manage our overall responsibility in this new age, as well as uphold the integrity of our competitions.”

The NJ sports betting case could lead to shifts in NCAA policy. Prior to last week’s decision, Las Vegas wasn’t eligible to host postseason contests because of the proximity to the sportsbooks. 

UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois hopes this policy will change, as she mentioned in a statement: “Working collaboratively with local and regional leaders, we are confident that Las Vegas can present competitively to host future competitions, as there is a proven track record of success in hosting multiple, large-scale sporting events here in Southern Nevada.”

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NCAA changes its position on sports betting

Three days following the decision, the NCAA released a statement with a changed stance and suspended its policy banning championship events in states that legalize sports betting.

“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. “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.

No schools we previously contacted updated their positions after the NCAA’s stance changed.

Marco Cerino

About

Marco Cerino is a 2007 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and a 2017 graduate from the Masters program at Temple University. A freelance writer based in South Jersey, he's worked in sports at the minor and major league levels. He now covers the NJ online gambling industry.