ESPN college football and basketball broadcaster Brent Musburger is beloved on our corner of the internet. One of the reasons for that is that while most mainstream announcers will entirely shy away from gambling implications in their games, Musburger constantly references them. He was a guest on ESPN Radio’s Las Vegas affiliate on Friday, and was asked if ESPN has ever sought to censor that discussion:
One day, an executive — not recently, this is some time ago — I had done a Fiesta Bowl with Notre Dame and Ohio State. I said the over/under number during the third quarter, and he said, ‘You know, you might not wanna do that.’ He was very nice about it. He was not insistent.
It was never any problem, because if you watch ESPN’s scroll carefully, you will see spreads roll across the bottom. And if you go up on ESPN.com, you can find advice and information on picking a side. They’re aware that it’s there, they just don’t like to field complaints coming back from the NFL or the NCAA.
The only coach who’s ever mentioned anything about it to me was a Wisconsin basketball coach, kind of jokingly. I said the reason that I’m doing it is not because I’m gambling or anything, but I think it’s an interesting point of information.
These people follow these games, and I’ll give you an anecdote about Lou Holtz. He was coaching Notre Dame, and Tuesday he’d have a staff meeting. He had the USA Today in front of him. Let’s say it would say Notre Dame, 36, Navy. Holtz would say, ‘Now what do they know that we don’t know?’ Don’t think for a moment that most coaches don’t pay attention to what that is out there.
I’m in favor of it being legalized and taxed. It’s real, and you’ve got your head in the sand if you don’t recognize that. I don’t find any difference between the NFL sponsoring fantasy football, and not letting people bet point spreads. I just don’t see the difference.
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