[toc]You won’t see almost any NCAA championship events — including March Madness — hosted by New Jersey any time soon.
That much was clear when the organization overseeing college athletics announced its championship and regional sites through 2022 on Tuesday.
The reason appears to be the ongoing sports betting case involving New Jersey, the NCAA and the top pro sports leagues in the US, according to John Brennan of NorthJersey.com.
NCAA and New Jersey, not BFFs
Brennan observed that pretty much nothing involving the NCAA would take place in the Garden State in the next five years, with the exception of two minor Division III championships.
There will be no official Division I or II championships or regional competitions taking place in New Jersey over that timeframe. That includes the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, which are big draws in terms of attendance.
Why? According to Brennan, it dates back to the the first of two laws New Jersey passed in 2011 attempting to legalize sports betting.
The NCAA didn’t taking kindly to that, joining the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL in opposing NJ’s law sports betting law via the federal court system. Those laws have been tied up in court for the past five years, with the current case being appealed to the US Supreme Court.
But the NCAA took it a step further. Here’s what it said when the decision to avoid New Jersey was made, per Brennan:
“Maintaining the integrity of sports and protecting student-athlete well-being are at the bedrock of the NCAA’s mission and are reflected in our policies prohibiting the hosting of our championships in states that provide for single-game sports wagering,” an NCAA executive said at the time. “Consistent with our policies and beliefs, the law in New Jersey requires that we no longer host championships in the state.”
But there are plenty of college sporting events in Nevada…
The NCAA doesn’t hold any championships in Nevada, either. But there are plenty of college sporting events that go on there, including a variety of conference championships in basketball and the Las Vegas Bowl in football. The most high-profile example is the Pac-12, which holds its men’s basketball postseason tourney in Vegas despite the fact it has no teams from Nevada.
But the NCAA also skips Nevada for the championships it stages.
The NCAA is nothing if not consistent on “championship” level events, however. It stayed out of Oregon as long as it had its “Sports Action” parlay cards via the state lottery. Once the state shut that wagering down, NCAA tournament games returned to Oregon.
The current status of NJ sports betting case
New Jersey is waiting to hear if SCOTUS will hear is appeal in the case. A brief from the US Solicitor General will be filed in the coming months, which will play a big role in whether the appeal is heard at all.
If the nation’s highest court doesn’t take the case, New Jersey’s current legal challenge is over, and it is back to the drawing board. If the appeal does move forward, then we have a long wait in store for SCOTUS to hear the case, likely sometime in the next year.
No matter what, New Jersey residents won’t be buying tickets to many NCAA events staged in their home state any time soon.
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