Rovell: The NCAA Hasn’t Decided to Review All Buzzer-Beaters … Yet

Rovell: The NCAA Hasn’t Decided to Review All Buzzer-Beaters … Yet article feature image

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports.

  • We've seen two buzzer-beaters that should not have counted in the past week, both of which impacted those who bet on the games.
  • There's been some confusion on the NCAA's plan to address concerns around buzzer-beaters that don't swing games.
  • Darren Rovell has some new details on what's next as March Madness approaches.

Is the NCAA interested in your bets?

Until now, the answer has been a resounding no.

They tell their athletes “Don’t Bet On It” and their president, Mark Emmert, told an audience at the NCAA Convention in Orlando just 10 days ago that gambling is “going to threaten the integrity of college sports in many ways unless we are willing to act boldly and strongly.”

But, after controversy ensued when two potential after-the-buzzer shots counted and swayed betting interest without changing outcomes, it’s possible the NCAA will at least care enough to make sure that a final score is recorded accurately for betting purposes.

On Thursday, the NCAA, when asked by ESPN, said it would review “all shots made at the buzzer, as necessary, in the interest of score and team and player statistics and even if the outcome of the game isn’t riding on the officials call” during the NCAA Tournament.

Friday morning, it was not-so-fast, as the NCAA clarified its stance saying, in a statement, that its sports wagering committee would meet with its playing rules committee to figure out whether or not the “new gambling environment” is a reason to review the calls “in keeping with our commitment to maintaining the integrity of the games.”

The NCAA will say no more, but here’s what’s next.

There’s currently no date for the sports wagering committee and the playing rules committee to get together, but you can bet, with the heightened attention on buzzer-beaters during the tournament, the meeting will happen before then.

But whether something will actually get resolved before the start of March Madness is more up in the air. The NCAA, after all, isn’t particularly known for its rapid decision making.

The sports wagering committee will make its case, if it desires, as to why it’s important to have a policy that would review buzzer-beater scenarios for betting purposes — in games where the winner-and-loser outcome is not in jeopardy.

Current rules, managed by the playing rules committee, do not provide for a review in a situation when the outcome is not in jeopardy.

The committee can also justify a new review procedure under its watch to assure the accuracy of the NCAA’s new evaluation tool called NET, which relies on game results and scoring margin.

So if a last-second basket is in question — regardless of if it impacts the game’s outcome — then one could make the case that the NET is inaccurate.

There’s still so much up in the air.

Will the sports wagering committee ask for only questionable buzzer-beaters that impact a spread to be reviewed?

If it doesn’t affect the outcome, who would initiate the review and when would it take place?

The positive news, and frankly most shocking, to come out of this is the NCAA’s tacit admission that getting the score right for gamblers could have something to do with the game’s integrity.

That’s not exactly expected for an organization that staunchly opposes it — and, out of all of the organizing bodies, is understandably the most concerned about betting compromising its games as a result of the athletes not getting compensated.

The NCAA should get a lot of credit for going as far as it did when it could have just mentioned the importance of the NET accuracy.

Either way, it seems like a good bet to assume that the days of walk-off buzzer-beaters going unreviewed are numbered.