Wednesday October 17, 2012 : NEW JERSEY SPORTS BETTING WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES (Update)
NCAA's withdrawal of college games lambasted
The war of words both in court filings and in the media over New Jersey's decision to introduce intrastate sports betting is growing increasingly acrimonious.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association and four professional sports leagues including the NFL have filed a suit against the state in an attempt to block its legalization challenging the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act .
Earlier this week the National Collegiate Athletic Association, apparently in a tit-for-tat tactic, pulled six championships from the state, all scheduled in 2013 and embracing a variety of sports such as wrestling, swimming, diving, basketball, volleyball and Lacrosse..
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was quick to respond through a spokesperson, characterising the NCAA’s move as “ludicrous and hypocritical”.
“The NCAA wants to penalise New Jersey for legalising what occurs illegally every day in every state and often with the participation of organised crime,” Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Christie said. “But the NCAA looks the other way for that? Ludicrous and hypocritical.”
New Jersey school officials were also quick to react to the NCAA’s decision, with Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti commenting:
"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.
“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."
The Reuters news agency noted that about the only thing that would cause Gov. Christie even a moment of pause – the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. – is not at risk.
While the NFL is aligned with the NCAA in opposing New Jersey’s legalization attempt, league spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday that there is no discussion about moving the Super Bowl, even if sports betting is allowed at the Meadowlands Racetrack, which shares a parking lot with MetLife Stadium.
“We are continuing our Super Bowl planning and do not anticipate this having any impact,” Aiello said.
One observer of the situation summed it up this week by pointing out that there is no reasonable debate on the issue.
"Fighting the legalization of something that is already so prevalent, and has always been so prevalent – let alone something that funds crime organisations rather than state budgets – is a testament to either entrenched ignorance or special interests," he noted.