Nick Saban weighs in on the potential widespread legalization of sports betting

Alabama could be one of the states to legalize sports betting now that a federal ban has been overturned. (Vasha Hunt/AL.com via AP)

Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t have a clear opinion on how the potential mass legalization of sports betting could impact college football and other sports.

“I almost don’t know what to think,” Saban told USA Today. “I’m not opposed to people making wagers on events, sporting events, but I guess the thing that worries you the most is, how could it or would it affect the integrity of the game? That’s always a concern.”

The United States Supreme Court paved the way for states to legalize sports betting on Monday, overturning a federal ban against the practice. Sports betting is legal across Europe and betting is encouraged on soccer games and other sporting events across the continent.

There have been match-fixing issues — including when Italian soccer power Juventus was relegated and lost championships in 2006 — so Saban’s concern about the integrity of the game is legitimate. But it’s not like the federal ban on sports gambling has prevented people from gambling illegally in the United States previously. Match-fixing isn’t a new concern. Just ask Pete Rose.

It’s against NCAA rules for coaches and players to be involved with sports betting. Monday, the chief legal officer of the NCAA weighed in with a statement about the Supreme Court’s decision. You can bet the College Football Playoff’s three games will be some of the most-wagered sporting events. And we’re guessing the NCAA would want a cut of that action if it could get it.

“Today the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held otherwise,” Donald Remy said. “While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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