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Ref Conspiracies Take Center Stage at This Year's NCAA Tournament

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Mar/21/2022

With legalized sports betting becoming a dominating force in recent years, it's no wonder that conspiracy theories tied to officiating would be making their way through this year's NCAA Tournament.

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The NCAA at least banned ads for sports betting companies during this year's March Madness games.  That hasn't been enough to stop the chatter. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell once said that legalized gambling on sports would fuel suspicions about the games’ integrity, a strong sense that the games are fixed. 

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post points out one such game with a questionable finish played this past week.

On Thursday, one NCAA Tournament Round 1 game ended with the underdog, Richmond, defeating Iowa, 67-63 with the final minutes including two curious non-calls that would go on to affect the spread outcome.

It wasn’t so much that Iowa was robbed than it was that Iowa was robbed by game officials who had a financial stake in the outcome. Those refs just as easily could have bet Iowa and made sure Iowa covered. Can you prove that didn’t happen? 

See how it works? See where we are? The game was fixed! 

This isn’t merely the road to which we are headed, this is the road we are on. Goodell, before he sold out, was right.

College games have some minimal safeguards in place when it comes to protecting the integrity of games.  Many states prohibit player prop bets while still others do not allow betting on in-state teams.  New Jersey residents, for example, will be unable to place bets on this year's Cinderella, the Saint Peter's Peacocks of Jersey City.

One state, Oregon, prohibits bets on college games altogether.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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