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.

22 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

22 responses to “Gambling, “information-sharing,” and the SEC

  1. The other Doug

    I wonder how this will impact officiating. There will be pressure when games are decided by incompetence or Penn Wagers ire.

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  2. “student-athletes, because of amateurism, would appear to be far more susceptible to those sorts of temptations.” Why would a player that stands to earn millions in the NFL risk all of that on a small time gamble?

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  3. AusDawg85

    I thought HIPAA prevents the schools from reporting on injuries?

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    • Uglydawg

      If so, that would be gas on the fire, wouldn’t it? Because there will always people who know people inside a program and are thus savvy to injury issues. Maybe the better fix would be to require schools to list all injuries..but then..there’s the confidentiality rights of the player to consider..
      (I think I just talked myself into believing “not reporting injuries” is best) And also, there are always over-hyped injuries to confuse the next opponent’s game planning. Training assistants that will leak info may be poised to make some big money.

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    • Argondawg

      That is what I thought as well.

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    • Gurkha Dawg

      I’m not so sure about HIPAA. I know that Physicians, Hospitals, Surgery Centers, etc. have to protect medical records, but I don’t think coaches do. The player is not under the medical care of a coach.

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  4. SemperFiDawg

    Bookies vs Athletic Directors. The game was over when the Supreme Court blew the whistle. The ADs,Conferences, and NCAA lost before they ever realized the game had started. The ADs don’t collectively have enough sense to pour pee out of a boot with directions wrote on the heel.
    College sports will look like what Vegas dictates, and there’s not much anyone can do about it.

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    • I don’t get the uproar about the SCOTUS decision. I haven’t read the opinion, but it seems the Court has said it was a violation of the US Constitution for Congress to bar every state from having the ability to provide sports gambling if its state legislature so desires. The way it was before was crony capitalism at its worst.

      Nothing has really changed … now, you won’t have to go to Las Vegas or to your local bookie to bet on sports. If a wise guy wants inside information now, he’ll get it from the same sources he has before.

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      • Dawg in Alabama

        ^^ This guy gets it. ^^

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      • The reason for the alarm bells is that with, say, 20 or so states embracing sports betting, there will be a lot more money in the system and a lot more points of access for a wise guy to take advantage of.

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        • Junkyardawg41

          I agree with ee and I get your point. However, for a player to go in and shave points (or any other thing that is bet on) for a financial gain, it would require a fairly hefty incentive. In the football world, I would think that would have already been done. Having said that, college basketball and college baseball are two entirely separate issues where it’s easier to manipulate lines. Considering how many more players don’t make it to the pros, I think those sports are high risk.

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          • I don’t know how long you’ve been a reader of the blog, but if it’s for any time at all, do I really need to remind you of all the stupid, risky behavior teenagers are capable of at the seeming drop of a hat?

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        • I would think the money will be exactly the same. It will just get the money on the table rather than under the table. I just don’t see millions of people who weren’t betting on sports before starting now.

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