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.