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College Drop-Out: How Would the NCAA React to PASPA's Repeal

College Drop-Out: How Would the NCAA React to PASPA's Repeal

Unlike many of its pro-league counterparts, the NCAA’s position on legalized sports betting has never been murky, nuanced, or hard to understand. The NCAA strongly opposes sports betting, plain and simple. What then, are they to do if PASPA – the sports betting prohibitionist’s best friend – is repealed by a Supreme Court ruling? Well, that’s a good question, and for the answer, we’ll have to speculate a bit.

LegalGamblingUSA feels if PASPA is repealed in the coming months -- the likely result of any favorable decision for New Jersey in their pivotal SCOTUS case -- the natural firewall it creates against sports betting will disappear, exposing all leagues to the discretion of individual states.

While this shouldn’t really present much of a problem for leagues like the NBA or MLB, who have shown recent flexibility on the matter, those like the NFL and NCAA have a much bigger decision to make: namely, do they begin to back-pedal? Or choose to double-down?

If the NCAA chooses to double-down, continuing to oppose legalized sports betting even after losing in the Supreme Court, it would likely resort to fighting the battle on a state-by-state level. Similar to what they’re already doing on a federal level, the NCAA would have to lobby against sports betting in each individual state that proposes the idea, which would likely be most states, if not all.

Though that option seems like a non-starter for obvious reasons, not the least of which being it would require states to forgo the benefits of regulated sports betting simply to appease the NCAA, there may be another way: a carveout. Just as fantasy sports was written in as an exception to UIGEA in 2006, the NCAA could fight to be excluded from the types of sports betting that state regulations would allow.

This angle gives the NCAA its best chance, since betting on amateur sports is already a controversial matter for most. Still, the battle would have to replay itself in each and every state, so the road would be quite long.

Of course, the option to about-face is always on the table, though it’s unlikely the NCAA will opt to take it. Despite the writing on the walls, the NCAA hasn’t flinched at all, far removed from the measured back-pedaling we’ve seen from others.

Perhaps it’s a respectable, steadfast approach that the NCAA is taking, but soon, it may be nothing more than a misguided (and failed) attempt to remain unchanged in an evolving world.