State Officials Respond Quickly to NCAA Decision

By Beacon Staff

On some issues, politicians leave us in the dark. Perhaps a significant court decision is handed down and we find ourselves waiting for their response or reaction. But when it comes to sports, at least in Montana, they don’t waste any time.

Last Thursday, after months of speculation, the NCAA Executive Committee made an announcement ensuring that Montana college institutions are eligible to host playoff games. There had been concerns that Montana’s gambling laws may be in violation of the NCAA’s betting rules and therefore the state’s college institutions aren’t allowed to host postseason events. That would mean no Grizzly football games in Missoula.

But Montana officials, including Attorney General Steve Bullock and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, contacted NCAA officials and helped bring about the the Aug. 6 announcement. Shortly after the announcement was released, the Beacon received five press releases within an hour. They came from Bullock, Schweitzer, Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, and Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Click here to read the NCAA’s announcement. Also, here’s a sampling of what our state’s officials had to say:

“This one went to the replay booth, but in the end, the NCAA made the right call for Montana’s college athletes and fans. We can rest easy knowing the fate of our teams will be decided on the field of play.”

“As I said in my letter to the NCAA on June 4 – there are no sports fans like Montana sports fans. This ruling is good news for our universities, teams and sports fans alike.”

“As a sports fan and a Montanan, the NCAA’s decision is very good news to hear. I’d like to thank the NCAA and Montana university officials for working together and getting this done. “

“I applaud the NCAA for coming to a common-sense conclusion that preserves Montana’s right to host playoff and tournament games. And I’m proud to have worked hand in hand with the universities to help the NCAA understand Montana’s gaming laws.”

“Today’s common-sense decision reinforces the fact that college sports are – and always will be – a big part of life in Montana. Today’s decision was the right call for Big Sky Country.”

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