Posted at 7:15 a.m., Thursday, February 1, 2007
Super Bowl prop bet on Nevada-UH hoops pulled
By SCOTT SONNER
At the request of school officials citing NCAA rules, a Reno casino discontinued a wagering proposition Wednesday on who would score more points Nevada star forward Nick Fazekas in Saturday night's game against Hawaii, or the Bears in Sunday's Super Bowl against Indianapolis.
Wacky Super Bowl propositions are a way of life at Nevada sportsbooks, which raked in a record $94.5 million from last year's big game. Among this year's props:
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's total passing yards vs. Phil Mickelson's four-round total at the FBR Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., where even par is 284.
The Colts' total score vs. LeBron James' total points in the Cavaliers NBA game against the Pistons on Sunday.
The Bears' total touchdowns vs. goals scored in Sunday's English Premier League soccer game between Manchester United and Tottenham.
The Club Cal Neva Hotel-Casino decided to add a bit of local flavor to the pot by adding wagers involving the Wolf Pack, who were 19-2 entering Wednesday night's game at Louisiana Tech.
In addition to Fazekas, who is averaging 20.2 points per game, they offered a bet on whether the Bears and Colts combined would score more in the first half than Wolf Pack sharpshooter Marcelus Kemp, or whether guard Kyle Shiloh would have more assists than the number of field goals made on Sunday.
The problem is, NCAA rules prohibit the use of student athletes to promote a business in any way, shape or form.
"They were just trying to generate some local interest and had no idea that what they were doing was a violation of NCAA policy," said Jean Perry, the school's special assistant to the president for athletics, academics and compliance.
"As soon as it was brought to their attention, they immediately withdrew the bets," she said Wednesday.
Perry said she already has reported the situation to the Western Athletic Conference and was preparing a formal report for the NCAA.
"In a nutshell, the NCAA bylaws say you can't use a student athlete's name or picture without his or her consent and you can't use it in any commercial way," she said.
"If we as an institution finds out someone has done that, we have the burden of asking them to stop that, which is what we did."
The Reno Gazette-Journal first reported the wagers on its Web site Tuesday afternoon, which is where university officials first learned of it.
It was not immediately clear whether bets made prior to Wednesday would be honored or if gamblers would receive a refund. Cal Neva officials did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment on Wednesday but Cal Neva President Jeff Siri confirmed the propositions had been pulled.
"We want to have good relations with UNR and the NCAA," Siri told the newspaper on Wednesday.
Perry doesn't expect the incident to result in any penalties against the school.
"This is a thing that was not instituted by us. The student athletes that were involved had no idea about it," she said.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said she could not comment on the specific case but that such an incident self-reported most likely would be considered a secondary infraction rather than a major infraction warranting penalties.
"Generally speaking, when something is inadvertent in nature or doesn't present a significant competitive advantage" it is not considered major, she said from NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
For the record, Fazekas a 6-foot-11 senior who was a third-team all-American last year looked like a fair bet against the Bears.
With the Bears listed Wednesday as a 7-point underdog and the over-under line for the total score set at 48.5 points, oddsmakers believe the Bears likely will score in the neighborhood of 20 points.
The actual proposition offered on Fazekas added 1.5 points to whatever he scored, so if the Bears totaled 21 points, Fazekas would have only needed 20 to bring home a winning ticket for a Wolf Pack backer.