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USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — Finding an NCAA rule that lacks common sense isn’t particularly challenging these days. But as the Supreme Court considers a case that effectively would open the door to legalized sports gambling nationwide, the NCAA’s prohibition on playing championships in Las Vegas still stands as the undisputed champion of misguided purity.
The NCAA long has been officially against sports gambling, even to the point of relocating some championship events from New Jersey in 2012 when the state passed a law that allowed wagering on college events. Even while conferences like the Pac-12 and Mountain West have played their postseason basketball tournaments in Las Vegas for several years without incident, the NCAA has continued to clutch its pearls, excluding the country’s most fan-friendly city from hosting NCAA tournament games and other national championships.
While the NCAA’s stance on Las Vegas has served little purpose other than fulfilling a sense of sanctimony, its hand may soon be forced. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday on New Jersey’s right to authorize sports wagering, setting the stage for the 25-year old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) to potentially be overturned.
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If that law is struck down and Nevada no longer has exclusive rights to authorize sports betting, the NCAA likely would have to abandon one of its most controversial bylaws as more states make it legal.
And once that happens, it probably wouldn’t take long for Las Vegas to become an epicenter of college sports, potentially hosting College…