The ramifications of New Jersey’s decision to license sports betting in January of next year is fast taking shape and as expected, more and more people are getting involved.
Shortly after the NCAA decided to pull sporting events scheduled in New Jersey as a response to the state’s decision to allow sports betting, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti went out and expressed disappointment over the NCAA’s move to pull out of five collegiate championships that were supposed to be hosted by the state.
According to the Star Ledger, the events involved include regionals for the Division I men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships in Piscataway; early-round games for the Division I women’s basketball championship in Trenton; Division III men’s volleyball championship in Hoboken; and the 2013 Division II and III women’s lacrosse championships in Montclair.
“As a resident of the state, I know there’s a bigger picture here and I also know we have a governor who is doing everything he possibly can to deal with the fiscal situation, which I of all people can certainly appreciate,” Pernetti said.
“There’s going to be some fallout on every front with stuff like this. It’s going to affect everybody to some extent, including us. We’re a little disappointed for our divers who were looking forward to competing here but I certainly understand the big picture and I think we all need to deal with it in the most productive way possible.”
Pernetti isn’t the only one who was miffed about the NCAA’s move to pull out the games out of the state and while the Rutgers AD was a little diplomatic about it, Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, certainly didn’t mince his words, calling the decision “ludicrous and hypocritical”.
It’s certainly not the first time the words ‘NCAA’ and ‘hypocritical’ have been thrown in the same sentence together and no matter how they defend their decisions with the overused phrase of “protecting the integrity of the sport“, there’s strong sentiment from a lot of people that they have no trouble talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to things like this.
The NCAA claims that they didn’t have a choice in this matter. Mark Lewis, the NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, even defended the NCAA’s decision, saying that “maintaining the integrity of sports and protecting student-athlete well-being are at the bedrock of the NCAA’s mission”. Sounds admirable, but the NCAA has also taken some ridiculous steps in punishing the same student-athletes it supposedly protects for infractions like getting free dinners, tattoos, and jerseys. Smell the irony, there?
Give credit to Pernetti though for staying above the fray, although it’s entirely possible that he’s being a little too nice about his show of ‘disappointment’ because he probably thinks that the NCAA’s decision isn’t final yet and will hinge on how its lawsuit – and that of the four professional sports leagues – against the state will play out.
But it certainly doesn’t take away the apparent muscle flexing the NCAA is doing to show what it can do if it doesn’t get what it wants. Sounds awfully familiar, right?