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Sunday's Word: Craps

Even though I'm on vacation, I did want to post a quick "Sunday Word" on a subject that may not seem to affect Lehigh - but it does.

Recently, Delaware state's government rolled the dice about allowing sports gambling in the state. In an effort to plug the massive hole in the state budget, they instituted a plan to take advantage of a federal loophole to re-institute a form of sports gambling that they had dropped in 1976.

Whatever the motivations of Delaware governor Jack Markell, he had to know that the NCAA doesn't take kindly to sports gambling - they've largely upheld a ban of sanctioned NCAA postseason events, for example, and none of the big-money events - so he must have known that the NCAA would be likely to bring the hammer down on Delaware schools if sports gambling were legalized.

And this Friday, the NCAA delivered what was expected: a ban on NCAA postseason competition for schools in the First State. For those Patriot League fans scoring at home, that means Delaware and Delaware State, should they qualify for the playoffs, will be playing on the road. Delaware's governor rolled the dice, in effect, on the schools' postseason opportunities - and it came up "craps".

Now, I'm no friend of gambling. I don't like the state of Delaware trying to do this to balance their budget since it won't work. The Sands won't balance Pennsylvania's budget, and neither will this endeavor. And I don't think table games or sports betting has any place next to an institution of higher learning.

But Delaware's gamble will hardly mean 'craps' for Lehigh's athletic conference. The collateral benefit is: for any of the Patriot League teams that might win the autobid to the playoffs this year, this offers a whale of an opportunity. If Delaware wins the CAA's autobid or qualifies as an at-large team, the playoff subcommittee will be looking for venues to host the Blue Hens, and tops on that list will most likely be a Patriot League school.

It's very unclear how long this postseason ban on Delaware schools might last. It's certain to be challenged in court, and even so the last time Delaware tried sports gambling to balance the budget they actually had to stop it in 1976 since it actually started to lose money. This may be only a limited-time offer.

Now I don't know if Lehigh has what it takes this year to make the FCS playoffs. But as a Lehigh fan I've never seen Delaware play at Murray Goodman - they played twice there, the last time in 1997, and I'm dying for the rematch. This might be the best opportunity in a long time - nay, perhaps the best opportunity ever - to see it happen again.

It's not all that important now - but maybe it should be in the back of everybody's head, just in case it happens. It would be sad to have a limited opportunity to get to play Delaware at home in the playoffs - and instead come up 'craps'.

Comments

Jason said…
This is a great sports blog you have here. I have one myself and I would like to exchange links with you. When you get the chance, let me know if this is possible either through email or a comment on my site. Thanks. Jason
ngineer said…
Yes, although unfortunate for the Blue Hens, it would be great to host them on November 28! Just a little added incentive for the troops; but we all know the adage,"one at a time". (;-)
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