Why is the NCAA still acting like it’s not delving into sports betting?
“We’re certainly not looking at from the NCAA’s point of view, ‘How do we monetize this great opportunity?’” NCAA President Mark Emmert said last week, as reported by Forbes. “But at the same time you have to recognize that for us, this is mostly about how do you maintain the integrity of the game? How do you fit this into the collegiate model of the game? How do you work with your media partners?”
It’s ironic that Emmert said that just last week, even though the NCAA announced a 10-year data deal with Genius Sports back in May.
At the time, the NCAA described the dealas a way for it “to transform the digital collection and distribution of intercollegiate sports data.”
It added: “This initiative, conducted in partnership with Genius Sports, a global leader in official sports data and technology services, will benefit the NCAA’s more than 1,100 member institutions across all three divisions and will be used in select NCAA championships, starting with men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in 2019.”
Also at the time, Oliver Luck, NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs and strategic partnerships, told ESPN: “This initiative will transform the way we collect, use, and distribute the vast amount of sports data being consumed across all sports at every level. It will allow our schools to upgrade to state-of-the-art technology.”
In other words, the NCAA plans on trying to make money off of sports betting and this partnership with Genius Sports will help it do just that. After all, when has the NCAA ever shied away from making money? The organization notoriously uses star players to sell respective sports and games without paying them in return, using the same-old line about paying them via education.
Despite Emmert’s comments, the NCAA seems to know exactly what it’s angling for when it comes to monetizing sports betting, dealing with the same Genius Sports, which touts partnerships with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the Premier League and PGA Tour.
Why dance around it now?