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With Legalized Sports Betting On Tap, NCAA To Move Championship Games Out Of N.J.

(credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the NCAA’s decision to move championship games out of the state because of plans to legalize sports betting “ludicrous and hypocritical.”

The college athletic association said that it cannot host games in states where gambling is allowed. New Jersey plans to license sports betting as soon as Jan. 9.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

“Think for a moment how silly it is what they’ve done. So the NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for responsibly legalizing what occurs illegally everyday and in every state and often with the participation of organized crime,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

“You have the NCAA look the other way for all of that and they focus on us for really trying to do the right thing with sports betting. I would call that ludicrous and quite hypocritical,” Drewniak told Diamond.

Drewniak also said New Jersey’s law bans betting on New Jersey college teams, or on any college game played here.

New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak has been leading the charge to bring legal online betting to the Garden State, and said the loss of the NCAA is no big deal.

“It’s not going to mean a hill of beans to us. We’re going to make hundreds of millions of dollars on sports betting on professional sports,” Lesniak told Diamond.

The NCAA and the major professional sports leagues are suing New Jersey to try to block the sports betting plan.

“Maintaining the integrity of sports and protecting student-athlete well-being are at the bedrock of the NCAA’s mission, and are reflected in our policies prohibiting the hosting of our championships in states that provide for single-game sports wagering,” Mark Lewis, NCAA Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances, said in a statement.

“Consistent with our policies and beliefs, the law in New Jersey requires that we no longer host championships in the state,” Lewis added. “We will work hard in the days ahead to find new suitable host locations which will allow the student-athletes to have the best possible competitive experience.”

Do you side with the NCAA or Gov. Christie? Let us know in the comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)