While rules of the Indianapolis-based National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibit athletes, staff members, conference employees and university leaders from gambling on sports and bar those same individuals from providing information to anyone associated with sports wagering, the Mid-American Conference (MAC), in which Ball State University competes, asks the NCAA if those restrictions apply to data deals, reports Eben NovyWilliams for Sportico. “NCAA schools and conferences can be paid by operators for advertising and customer recruiting, but it’s unclear if they can also be compensated for selling official data to those same companies,” and the MAC asks NCAA officials “for clarity on the governing body’s sports wagering restrictions, a request that could usher in a new era for betting in college sports. The MAC earlier this year filed a formal ‘interpretation request’ with the NCAA, according to multiple people familiar with the filing. There is no set timetable for a formal response, or an announcement should the rules need tweaking,” should they “be interpreted as forbidding conferences from signing pricey data distribution deals …. Those deals have become one of the prominent ways that pro leagues like the NBA and NFL are profiting off the booming U.S. sports betting industry, and the MAC took a major steps toward replicating them [in March], when it inked a wide-ranging data and sponsorship deal with Genius Sports. That partnership doesn’t allow Genius to sell data to sportsbooks right now, but that could change depending on how the NCAA responds, according to someone familiar with the deal. Representatives for the NCAA and the MAC declined to comment.” Novy-Williams notes that “Should the NCAA clarify that members are allowed to sell data through to sportsbooks, that could open the door to massive deals for conferences like the Big Ten and SEC, whose football and basketball games are often more popular (and attract more bettors) than established U.S. pro leagues … . Should the NCAA make changes, it would be the latest example of the Indianapolis-based governing body loosening its grip on how college sports is structured and policed. In January the NCAA approved a new slimmed down constitution that will cede more control to individual divisions, and likely to individual conferences themselves. That came amid mounting public, legal and legislative challenges to its long-held version of amateurism.”