he University of Massachusetts men's basketball game against Central Connecticut will be part of the Mohegan Sun Classic at the Uncasville, Conn., casino.
The event is a yearly double-header that always includes Central Connecticut. The participants in the other game have yet to be announced. It is a showcase (one game for each team), rather than a tournament.
The Minutemen's non-conference slate is nearly complete. UMass plays home games against Connecticut, Ohio State, Boston University, Holy Cross and Maine at the Mullins Center and against Oregon at the Springfield Civic Center.
The Minutemen will travel to Marshall and Boston College.
A final non-conference game, likely a road game, has yet to be finalized.
ONTVILLE, Conn. — A new player is muscling into the big-money melee around college basketball: gambling casinos, which want to offer college games as part of their entertainment mix.
The NCAA, which struggles to keep college sports free of sleazy agents, product promotions and gambling, is cool to the idea.
A test case may come at Mohegan Sun, a casino in the southeastern Connecticut woods run by the Mohegan Indian tribe. The casino wants to play host to college basketball games in its 10,000-seat arena, scheduled to open this fall.
Central Connecticut State University has agreed to play the University of Massachusetts in December, according to Central athletic director C.J. Jones.
UMass officials, including athletic director Bob Marcum, could not be reached for comment.
The casino also is trying to line up a men's and women's doubleheader.
Jones said the players won't be exposed to the casino.
"We're going to educate kids," he said. "We're not going to the casino before or after the game."
Betting on college sports is illegal in Connecticut, even at the Indian casinos, which operate on sovereign territory.
Still, the NCAA prefers that college basketball teams play elsewhere.
"Part of our concern is the mixed messages student athletes receive by traveling to his type of facility to participate in a game, given the message we're trying to send — that we believe it's wrong for sports gambling to occur on college student athletics," said Jane Jankowski, assistant director for public relations at the NCAA.
The NCAA is casting a more critical eye on plans to hold college basketball games at Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas, because Nevada is the only state where gambling on college sports is legal. A game between Fresno State and Gonzaga is scheduled for that casino Dec. 8.
Some members of congress are trying to pass a law this spring to outlaw gambling on college games in Nevada.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who led his team to a national title in 2000, has testified before congress in favor of legislation to stop all legal betting on college athletics. Calhoun also has an established relationship with the Mohegan casino, which sponsors his annual charity golf tournament. He will take part in a coaches clinic, along with Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Utah coach Rick Majerus, at the casino June 8-9.