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New Mexico Athletics Department Says Partnership with Laguna Pueblo is Strictly Business

On February 20th, 2008, at first review, a historical $2.5 million agreement between the Athletic Department and a tribal casino hotel facility might seem against the existing rules of the NCAA. Athletic Director Paul Krebs defended the whole deal, commenting that it will help the department pay the salaries of coaches and it would help fund the student athletes in the state.

Krebs also commented that because Route 66 Casino is operated by Laguna Pueblo cannot accept any form of betting regarding sports event, the agreement is similar to those with any other company. Krebs said that the gambling industry is an important part of the state's economy. It helps a lot especially with scholarships. The NCAA does not bar such agreements but they should not violate the organization's rules regarding sports betting.

In the state of New Mexico, as elsewhere, Indian owned casinos are not allowed under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act from Sports betting. Games of Luck, like blackjack and slot machines are allowed. The state of New Mexico has maintained some advertising collaborations with other tribal casino facilities in Albuquerque in the past year but it is hardly the first educational institution to enter into such an agreement.

Laguna Pueblo also advertises its casino facility in New Mexico and the tribe supports the Rio Grande Rivalry-a friendly competition between the Lobos and the Aggies in all sports activities that begun with the present academic year. Arizona also holds advertising agreements with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, giving permission to the tribe to advertise at the school owned stadiums and arenas.

New Mexico's sponsorship agreement with Laguna Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, is the biggest sponsorship agreement in the history of Lobo athletics. It will run for five years and has an option of being extended for about three years.

The sponsorship agreement also establishes Route 66 Casino Hotel as the lone gaming sponsor for New Mexico's athletics department as of July 1st. The casino can also post signs at the Pit, University Stadium and other campus venues.


03/03/2008 22:47 PM
Ann Pettersson