As regulated sports betting continues its conquest of the American gaming market, US universities are struggling with how best to handle their new reality. In the Southeastern Conference (SEC), college football’s most influential league, coaches and staff are getting new training from US Integrity, and coaches are learning the value of the injury report.
At the SEC’s recent spring meetings Commissioner Greg Sankey added presentations from US Integrity, a US-based sports monitoring service, to help coaches understand their new reality. That new reality will not involve creating a weekly injury report. Though this kind of report helps remove the temptation for staff to use insider information to create an edge for gamblers, the SEC is not yet open to making that information public. Former Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannan lost his job recently after he was accused of using insider information about his team’s pitching lineup for sports betting, and an injury report would have prevented that drama entirely.
The idea of a weekly injury report does have the support of Georgia coach Kirby Smart who told the Associated Press, “If everybody’s giving an injury report, I have no problem giving an injury report. They do it in the NFL. I was in the NFL. That’s not a huge deal as long as it’s a level playing field.”
Other coaches, such as Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, were cool to the idea of injury reports saying, “You’re going to solve a few problems and create a lot more with that.”
For now, SEC coaches and staff will only be required to attend presentations by US Integrity to learn more about the potential perils of sports betting, but that may not last forever. Commissioner Sankey knows that injury reports may be the best tool he’s got.
“I told our football coaches that the simple solution of ‘we want an injury report’ is not what I’m going to think about. But as information becomes more and more in demand because of the increases in sports gambling, we’re going to have to think about a sophisticated response to managing our information,” he said.