NCAA spent $1.6 million on lobbying in past decade

Airline 'overflight' of stadiums, sports betting among issues

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association's "March Madness" will come to an end tonight as the University of Louisville's Division I men's basketball team faces off against the University of Michigan in Atlanta. But the game of politics won't stop for the NCAA's lobbyists.

The NCAA has employed in-house lobbyists since 1995. During the past decade, it has spent about $1.6 million on lobbying, including $150,000 in 2012 alone, according to records filed with the U.S. Senate.

Two lobbyists have worked to advance the NCAA's interests: Abe Frank, a veteran of Citigroup's government relations shop, and Edgar Burch.

The lobbyists spend "a significant amount of their time" on "educational efforts," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told the Center for Public Integrity.

Last year, the NCAA's top concerns included legislation related to the safety of athletes, bills to legalize betting on athletic competitions (which the organization opposes) and the "overflight ban on general aviation aircraft flying over large stadiums," records indicate.

The NCAA conducts 89 national championships in 23 sports. The "Frozen Four" tournament for men's Division I hockey will be held later this week in Pittsburgh.

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