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Volume 25 No. 172
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ADs Talk Possible CFP Expansion, Sports Betting At IAF Conference

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco called for expansion of the CFP during the opening panel of the ’18 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan. Conference member UCF was left out of the CFP despite going undefeated for a second straight season. Aresco said, “A big concern is they weren’t really seriously considered for this. It doesn’t appear they were. And that’s the problem.” He asked: “Is half of college football precluded from playing in this playoff?” Aresco believes playoff expansion “would make the regular season far more exciting.” Aresco: “I’m not necessarily saying that it’s going to happen or I’m going to push really hard for it. I think I’ll probably end up being a proponent of it.” Texas AD Chris Del Conte also pointed to expansion of the NCAA Tournament through the years. He said of CFP expansion, “It’s not if, it’s when.”

NEW KIND OF GAME: Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork said the legalization of sports betting in Mississippi “kind of snuck up on us.” He said the school has adopted the UNLV model with its student-athletes and staff, prohibiting them from going into sportsbooks. Bjork said a point of emphasis in talks with the Mississippi Gaming Commission was making sure individual performance bets were not allowed. West Coast Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez said her biggest concerns are the integrity of the game and monetizing betting. Nevarez: “The question of monetization is whether and how, and is there a way to do that that aligns with our culture and values?” Del Conte doesn’t believe sports betting will come to Texas, but said, “It’s part of our country, it’s been here forever. I’d rather have it legal than illegal.”

QUICK HITS:

  • Del Conte, on whether there will be more conference realignment: “It has been happening since the dawn of time. It would be erroneous for us to always think that nothing is going to happen. You just go back and open up a history book.”

  • Bjork, on the legalization of sports betting in Mississippi: “Never thought I’d have to worry about the Gaming Commission and having the Gaming Commissioner’s cell phone number, but I have it. He’s got mine.”

  • Nevarez, on how sports betting could help the conference’s basketball TV ratings: “We are that last time slot on the West Coast. If you’re an avid gambler and you’ve had a tough day, that’s your one last chance to maybe make it back at the end of the day.”