Viva Las Vegas: NCAA no longer prohibits championship events in states with legalized gambling


Gambling is now legal — or, at least not prohibited on a federal level — meaning the various state legislatures of Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have joined Nevada in allowing legal sports gaming.

The NCAA had always banned states with legal sports gambling from hosting its championship events, but since that list has grown from just one state to eight and counting, such a ban would quickly become logistically difficult, so the NCAA is ending it.

The organization announced this week it will adopt a temporary action taken last year in response to the Supreme Court ruling that started all this and make it permanent. From the press release:

The board also voted to rescind the NCAA Championships Policy Related to Sports Wagering, which prohibited hosting championship competitions in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. The decision follows the board’s temporary action last year to suspend the policy following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports wagering.

The board also reinforced its support for federal legislative sports wagering standards. 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.

As far as FBS football goes, this affects… absolutely nothing. Bowl games, including the College Football Playoff, are run and managed by the conferences, as well as the respective conference championship games.

Title games at the sub-FBS level are NCAA events, though. The FCS National Championship has been in Frisco, Texas, since 2010; the Division II title game was played in nearby McKinney, Texas in 2018 and but spent the previous four in Kansas City, Kansas; and the Division III title game will spend one more year in Shenandoah, Texas, near Houston, before moving to Canton, Ohio, in 2020 and ’21.

Now, each championship game is free to make future plans without having to worry that future state legislature will affect those plans. Or, they could up and move to Vegas like they always wished they could.