NCAA Moves Championships From New Jersey Due to Gambling Law

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will relocate five championships from New Jersey after the state adopted regulations for sports wagering at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos.

NCAA rules prohibit holding any championship session in a state with legal wagering that’s based on single-game betting involving a point spread or money line.

While sports gambling is still prohibited in New Jersey by a 1992 federal law, the state has filed a lawsuit challenging the ban. Yesterday’s action by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement will allow casinos and racetracks to apply for licenses to provide sports wagering starting Jan. 9, 2013, with the applications costing $50,000.

“The law in New Jersey requires that we no longer host championships in the state,” Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, said in a statement. “We will work hard in the days ahead to find new suitable host locations which will allow the student-athletes to have the best possible competitive experience.”

Among the NCAA events that will be moved out of New Jersey from 2013 are regionals for the Division I men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships in Piscataway, and early-round games for the Division I women’s basketball championship in Trenton.

“The NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for responsibly legalizing what occurs illegally every day in every state and often with the participation of organized crime,” Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, said in an e-mail. "But the NCAA looks the other way for that? Ludicrous and hypocritical.’’

Legal Dispute

Next year’s Division III men’s volleyball championship will also be relocated from Hoboken, as will the 2013 Division II and III women’s lacrosse championships in Montclair.

“Maintaining the integrity of sports and protecting student-athlete well-being are at the bedrock of the NCAA’s mission,” Lewis said.

The NCAA and four major professional sports -- the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association -- in August sued New Jersey officials in federal court seeking to stop the state from implementing sports wagering. The suit is ongoing.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in January signed a law to permit sports gambling at the state’s racetracks and casinos, and has said the federal government doesn’t have the right to decide that only certain states can have sports wagering. A 1992 U.S. law bans betting in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

“It’s worth noting that the law the governor signed prohibits wagering on college games being played in NJ or any college game involving a NJ college team, regardless of where played,” Drewniak said.

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