• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Random Madness

Those nefarious villains of the NCAA may be -- gasp! -- running an illegal lottery in Indiana:

MISSION CITY, KANSAS -- An NCAA ticket dispersal plan involving a lottery may violate laws in some states against gambling. A lawsuit alleging exactly that is headed for an Indiana court after a federal appeals court ruled the case had enough merit to garner a hearing.

Rewarding random participants with something of greater value than the price charged to enter a drawing, as the NCAA does for March Madness tickets, constitutes a violation of Indiana law. The state restricts lottery operations to itself, and all others are barred from operating a lottery inside Indiana borders.

The college athletic association that oversees such events as the men's basketball championship tournament charges consumers a non-refundable fee, such as $6 or $10, to enter a lottery. The winners get the right to purchase tickets to the Final Four, among other events.

Let's see -- much fewer prizes than tickets sold, but the NCAA gets a cut -- er, "handling fee" -- of every ticket sold, so it can't lose. Sure sounds like a lottery, and I'd bet the odds are a lot better than those for the Hoosier Lottery. "The state restricts lottery operations to itself" indeed. Can't run a successful vice operation unlless you muscle out all the rival mobs.

The story notes that the NCAA has a "stern policy against gambling" but justifies the fees to "cover the costs of operating the ticket lottery," so at least the Hoosier Lottery defenders aren't the only mealy-mouthed hypocrites in this debacle.

No moral high ground to see here, move it along, folks.