Coaches vs. gamblers

Ooh, I think we’re gonna need some popcorn for this one.

The NCAA Gambling Working Group will propose the first-ever standardized national player availability report for college sports, two sources told CBS Sports.

Later this month, the working group will propose a pilot program that would have coaches list players as “available,” “possible” or “unavailable” for that week’s game without mentioning a specific body part or injury.

That seems pretty anodyne and a safe workaround for privacy concerns related to disclosing personal information about students.  Well, at least if you’re not a coach.

College football coaches are often noted for their lack of transparency when it comes to releasing injury information.

“I think as coaches we’re probably always wired not to give away the game plan,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “We try to do what’s best for our kids. I think it has to be a bigger conversation.”

Washington State’s Mike Leach, for example, has been strictly against releasing any injury information.

When informed of the proposal, Texas coach Tom Herman said, “If I said ‘unavailable,’ I still want the right to make that a game-time decision.”

Those sorts of details have yet to be worked out, according to a source.

Good luck with that, he said.  The problem is that coaches’ control is only half the concern here for the folks running the sport.  Here’s the other half.

However, professional leagues don’t have to deal with federal privacy laws in their injury reports. The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keep an individual’s medical information private.

All of this is essentially intended to provide the most accurate information for bettors to keep the games from being corrupted. With the new gambling laws, college sources are already worried about injury information leaking out. That information could be used to get an unfair betting advantage and defraud the system.

“They’ve got to do something. They leave themselves open to corruption,” said Tom McMillen of college sports. McMillen is the president of Lead1 Association, which represents FBS athletic directors.

Every decade since the 1940s, college sports has endured at least one major point-shaving scandal.

Cue the “shocked, shocked” quote here.

The irony here is that coaches are going to lean on student privacy concerns as an excuse to defend their own turf.  And that may work!  When in doubt, doing it for the kids is always college sports’ go-to excuse.  So what if that allows for the occasional betting scandal?  If there’s one thing college athletic departments are good at — aside from doing it for the kids, of course — it’s sweeping pesky little problems that don’t affect the bottom line under the rug.

I mean, what’s a little corruption between good friends?  Just ask the NCAA as the shoe scandal prosecutions unfold.

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6 Comments

Filed under Bet On It, College Football

6 responses to “Coaches vs. gamblers

  1. Just list all of the potential not playing players as possible.

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  2. Bright Idea

    “Unavailable” opens a whole new world of speculation for the AJC guys.

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  3. Macallanlover

    Still feel the impact of states getting involved in sports betting is very exaggerated, serious bettors always found a way to get action on a game. The total dollars bet will increase, but will be from $20 a game players, or $5 parlay sheets. These aren’t the guys that study injury situations, or spend hours on analysis of a game. Much ado about nothing from the NCAA, should just leave this alone and focus on some real problems.

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  4. Geezus

    That’s an easy one, list all players as “possible”.

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