Daily Archives: May 27, 2018

Gambling, “information-sharing,” and the SEC

Marc Weiszer mentions something in passing in his story about this week’s SEC spring meetings that may be a bigger deal than we think.

Weeks after the Supreme Court’s ruling on sports gambling that will open the door for more states to make way for legalized betting, what will be the impact in college athletics and in the SEC?

“I think we all have concerns about where that issue is headed,” Morehead said. “I expect there will be a robust discussion about where we go from here. The NCAA presidents expressed some concerns as well.”

Morehead said leaguewide injury reports could be discussed.  [Emphasis added.]

Sports betting isn’t an existential threat to organized sports.  The perception that the fix is in, though, is.  Just ask Pete Rose.  Once the public gets it in its collective mind that outcomes are being manipulated, what’s left is more akin to professional wrestling than competitive sports.

League presidents may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but they can smell a threat to their cash flow.

The problem with keeping injury reports out of the public eye is that such information can be obtained and used to parties’ advantage in betting on outcomes.  Well, that’s just one problem.  The other problem is that college coaches prefer to keep that information out of the public eye, not because they’re out to help sharpies make an extra buck, but because they would prefer not to give opposing coaches an edge in preparation.

Certainly, if you want to point out this is hardly the only threat college athletics face from widespread legal sports betting, I’m not going to argue that.  At least in the pros, athletes are paid the big bucks and thus have skin in the game at risk by considering throwing games or aspects of games; student-athletes, because of amateurism, would appear to be far more susceptible to those sorts of temptations.  That being said, I sincerely doubt that’s a subject the Jere Moreheads of the world are very keen on discussing this week.

I don’t know where this one’s gonna go.  Nick Saban once coached in the NFL, so no doubt he recognizes how that league handles injury reports, but I suspect if asked now, he’d say those reports aren’t his problem, but that of the sport.  Somehow I don’t think that will mollify the guys cashing the checks from ESPN and season ticket holders.  Keep an eye on it.

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“The dream is to play.”

The heart wants what the heart wants, and in Stetson Bennett’s case, that’s more than being a scout team beast.

Preferred walk-on Stetson Bennett IV, the No. 3 quarterback on the Georgia depth chart, will head to junior college. He will then look to parlay that experience into another opportunity in major college football…

His departure creates a precarious situation for the Bulldogs, given that Fromm and Fields are the team’s only scholarship quarterbacks.

“Those guys, first of all, are unbelievable guys,” he said. “Just great human beings. There are also great ballplayers. I just thought that it would be extremely tough for me being a walk-on to beat them both out.”

That made UGA arguably the toughest QB depth chart to crack in the SEC, if not the nation.

“The dream is to play,” Bennett said. “It was cool being at Georgia. I loved sharing those moments at Georgia last year but the dream is to play. It just wasn’t the same growing up as a boy who wanted to play at Georgia if you are not out there. That’s the thing. It was cool. I would love to be the starting quarterback at the University of Georgia. But just being there and being on the team, that’s not good enough for me.”

“I’m going to go play somewhere,” Bennett said. “I think that’s evolved to more of the dream than just being somewhere at a place because you grew up loving it. I think now the dream is to go play and go win championships somewhere. That’s what I feel like. I am going to go chase that dream now.”

That sounds remarkably more realistic than what I’ve heard out of certain commenters here.  And who can blame him for wanting that, especially after hearing the confirmations of his abilities after his great scout team work last season?

I have no idea if he’s SEC-ready, but the more relevant consideration is that he knows he’s not first team at Georgia-ready.  Go chase that dream, Stetson.

Of course, that leaves Kirby in something of a pickle, as he’s back to inexperienced walk-ons backing up his two stud quarterbacks.  (If he were Mark Richt, no doubt there would be some grumbling about his roster management.  But I digress.)  It will be interesting to see if he tries to chase a quarterback to fill Bennett’s role.  It will also be interesting to see what, if any, impact this has in the fall regarding how Fromm and Fields are deployed.

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