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The NCAA will reportedly allow individual schools and conferences to sign lucrative deals with data companies that could then sell information to sportsbooks.
This represents another example of the NCAA loosening its long-standing opposition to sports betting. Per Yahoo! Sports, the Division I Interpretations Committee met Wednesday and determined that an individual, school or conference can provide stats to sports wagering companies if that information is available to the general public.
It’s a sign of the times in the NCAA, with name, image and likeness (NIL), anti-trust lawsuits and conference realignment taking up the limelight, meaning the NCAA is ceding more responsibility to individual divisions and conferences.
The MAC filed a formal rules interpretation request earlier this year, looking for clarity about NCAA sports betting restrictions. As the Yahoo! Sports report notes, the MAC specifically asked about Section 10.3 of the NCAA Division I manual, which states that athletes, university staffers and conference employees cannot “provide information” to anyone associated with sports wagering.
Such a method has been used by professional sports leagues that are profiting off the U.S. sports betting industry. The MAC aims to replicate the league’s approach, inking a deal with Genius Sports last month. While it’s unclear how much the deal is worth, the NHL’s recent deal with Sportradar could set a precedent.
The NHL and Sportradar came to terms on a $250 million deal, which includes the league’s right to purchase $90 million in equity. The MAC likely won’t touch that number, but larger conferences such as the SEC and Big Ten could net massive deals.
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