A sure bet? Universities wrestle with potential impact of betting

Someday in the near future, you might find yourself bored on a weekday afternoon and decide to turn on the television. Maybe you’ll scroll to ESPN or FS1 — the channel is irrelevant because the programming will be the same: a sports betting show.

On an otherwise typical May afternoon, the college sports establishment anxiously turned its gaze to Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 26-year-old law that effectively outlawing sports betting outside Nevada.

In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled PASPA was unconstitutional, setting off a wave of enthusiasm from gamblers while athletic administrators and coaches cast a wary eye.

The word “gambling,” long a college sports bogeyman, carries negative connotations, striking fear of potential scandal into the NCAA’s powerbrokers.

“First thing I would say is I think we’ve got great students playing football,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in Chicago at the conference’s media days. “Trust them. They’re young. We need to continue to educate them about the challenges associated with gambling and the importance of the integrity of the game.”

If Delany had it his way — and he usually does — he would eliminate college sports from the gambling model. And if that’s not successful, he prefers a framework that gives additional protection to college, high school, and Olympic sports.

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