The NCAA has pulled all 2013 championships from the state of New Jersey after a law was enacted that allowed gambling on professional and collegiate sports.
“The law in New Jersey requires that we no longer host championships in the state,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances 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.”
“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,” the statement added.
The rule affects several sports, but includes specifically the Zone A Diving meet, that is a qualifier for the NCAA Championships. The meet was scheduled to be hosted in Piscataway, New Jersey at Rutgers University, but now will have to find a new host.
The rule is in effect to keep gamblers from trying to influence the outcome of college games: seen as more of a risk in amateur athletics because the athletes are not paid the way that professionals are. The most common issue with gambling on college sports has come in basketball, where there have been several high-profile “point shaving” scandals that involve players affecting the amount their team wins a game by to land the results on one side or the other of a point spread.
In August, the NCAA and four major professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) sued New Jersey state officials in federal court seeking to stop the state from implementing sports wagering. The suit is not yet completed.
Officials from the state of New Jersey called the move “ludicrous and hypocritical” in comments to the Associated Press. They pointed out that sports gambling already happened in New Jersey, it had just been through illegal channels like independent “bookies” or internet sites.
Other events affected by the ban in 2013:
- Division III Wrestling Championships, East Regionals (Ewing, March 2)
- Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Trenton Regional (Trenton, March 30-April 2)
- Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship (Hoboken, April 26-28)
- Division II and III Women’s Lacrosse Championships (Montclair, May 18-19)