For Montana and NCAA Sports, All's Well that Ends Well

Good news for athletes and sports fans across Montana today: the NCAA today clarified its sports wagering policy and specifically exempts Montana's sports pools. Montana can continue to host NCAA and post-season games. Great news!

In June, I wrote about the NCAA issuing a decision that would have prohibited states that allow sports games in lotteries and sports betting from hosting NCAA playoff games. After I spoke with the Attorney General's office and officials in the university system familiar with the policy, I felt sure that the NCAA would determine that the fears of influencing games could not happen in Montana; we don't have live sports betting, but lottery games with sports themes. It took two months and a meeting of chancellors and presidents Thursday in Indianapolis, but the NCAA has found that all's well with NCAA sports and post-season game-hosting in Montana.

The whole issue arose when NCAA officials threatened to ban all playoff games in Delaware as that state considered legalizing wagering on the outcome of sporting events. That policy then crept to states that have gaming, and sports-themed games, like Montana, even though we do not have legalized wagering on the outcome of live sporting events, like Delaware. Montana law allows betting on fantasy sports leagues, not on the outcome of single events, prohibited under NCAA rules.

The new NCAA policy states: "No predetermined or non-predetermined session of an NCAA championship may be conducted in a state with legal wagering that is based upon single-game betting (high school, college or professional) in a sport in which the NCAA conducts a championship."

Sports are important in Montana, and we play by the rules--of the game and of the sporting associations. I'm glad the issue is resolved and Montana can continue its participation and enjoyment of the games.

Go, Cats. :)

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