Billy Packer said he'd turn his attention to other business interests after leaving CBS last year. His latest deal isn't far removed from what he was doing, but it's hard to believe the NCAA will be comfortable with it, given the organization's concerns about sports wagering.
Packer and Bob Knight plan to analyze the NCAA men's basketball tournament in a series of television programs taped at a race and sports book on the strip in Las Vegas, The Associated Press reports. It's not clear who's paying Packer and Knight.
Packer told reporters on Monday that the show wouldn’t mention gambling even though it is to be filmed at the Wynn Las Vegas.
"Why Vegas is because Bob and I, and a lot of people, want to really experience what this is really like because we do think, next to being center court, this is the place to be,” AP quotes Packer as saying.
Packer, 68, left CBS after last season following 27 years as the network’s lead college basketball analyst. Including previous years with NBC, Packer had done every Final Four since 1975, an unparalleled run for a national sports championship.
Knight said this job would not affect his relationship with ESPN, which employs him as a college basketball analyst. College basketball's winningest coach said he would contribute to ESPN during the NCAA tournament if asked.
ESPN tells Inside Sports Media that it reached an agreement with Knight in November — after he'd already arranged to work with Packer. Knight will make his Final Four appearances on ESPN as planned, via satellite.
The NCAA says it's taking no position on the "geographic location" of the Packer-Knight shows. "However," the NCAA adds in a formal statement, "our position is clear and unchanged on college sports wagering ... we oppose it in all forms."
Doubt that's enough to dissuade Packer and Knight.