The state of New Jersey's announcement that it will begin issuing sports betting licenses on January 9 has provoked a quick and powerwful response from the NCAA.
College sports' governing body has pulled the hosting rights to five NCAA championship events that are due to take place in New Jersey in 2013. The most prominent among them is the East Regional round of the Division I women's basketball tournament, which was to be played at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.
As the NCAA said in a statement issued Monday night:
The NCAA championships sports wagering policy strictly prohibits the conducting of any championship session in a state with legal wagering that is based on single-game betting. Single-game betting is defined as wagering that involves either a money line or point spread wager.
This policy is in place to ensure the integrity of the game, provide consistency in awarding NCAA championships and to address concerns for student-athlete well-being.
The events that have been withdrawn from New Jersey are:
- The Division I Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, Diving Regionals (Rutgers University/Piscataway, March 14-17)
- The Division I Women's Basketball Championship East Regional (Sun National Bank Center/Trenton, March 30-April 2)
- The Division III Men's Volleyball Championship (Stevens Institute of Technology/Hoboken, April 26-28)
- The Division II and III Women's Lacrosse Championships (Montclair State/Montclair, May 18-19)
In addition to those scheduled events, the NCAA has also decreed that no further NCAA championship events will take place in the state because of the law.
Banning New Jersey from hosting any NCAA championship events means that the Division I men's basketball tournament will no longer go to the Prudential Center in Newark or the Izod Center in East Rutherford. The Big Dance most recently came to the Garden State in 2011, when Newark hosted the East Regional semifinal and final rounds.
Multiple venues in New Jersey have hosted the NCAA women's basketball tournament, including Trenton's arena and Rutgers' gym in Piscataway. Those are both off the board now.
Outside of basketball, Red Bull Arena could have hosted the soccer College Cup some day; the Prudential Center could hosted the Frozen Four hockey tournament; and MetLife Stadium could have hosted the men's Division I lacrosse championship.
None of that is possible now, at least until the NCAA and New Jersey's state government figure out a solution. The NCAA along with Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA and NHL have sued the state in federal court in an attempt to block the law. The suit is ongoing.
It wouldn't surprise me if Philadelphia benefits from the NCAA's decision. There are plenty of venues in our region that could quickly take on hosting NCAA events.
It will be particularly interesting to see where the women's basketball regional rounds go. The Wells Fargo Center is already hosting East subregional games in the 2013 Division I men's basketball tournament from March 21-24. But there's no reason why the Liacouras Center couldn't take on the women's regional final March 30 and April 1.
The Palestra might be a stretch because of the venue's lack of media facilities and other necessary spaces, but it sure would be fun if they could pull it off.
Other Division I championship events coming to our region soon include the 2013 men's lacrosse championship at Lincoln Financial Field (May 25-27); the 2013 men's soccer championship at PPL Park (December 13-15); and the 2014 men's hockey Frozen Four at the Wells Fargo Center (April 10-12).