One of the biggest stories this season has been the Supreme Courts decision allowing states to legalize sports gambling. What does that mean for college football? We’re some time away from knowing that answer, and even Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby himself isn’t sure what to expect.
“I think we’re very much in a wait-and-see environment right now,” Bowlsby said during Big 12 Media Days. “There’s a lot of talk about integrity fees. There is a lot of talk about how it gets managed. Are we really going to end up with 50 states that all have different laws on legalized gambling?
“What do we end up with if a couple of our states in the Big 12 footprint have legalized gambling and three others don’t? … It’s just taking a while to settle in and frankly I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”
Outside of the concern how different states within the conference’s footprint may handle sports betting, there’s also concern of game fixing. On that front the Big 12 is already taking steps to try and prevent it.
“We have a consulting group that helps us look at when lines move abrupt and when there seems to be an unusual amount of money bet on a particular game. …We do it mostly because we want to make sure that we protect ourselves from point shaving and from officiating issues and things like that.
“As near as I can tell, the real losers in the whole thing are organized crime. If it’s legal everywhere, it’s hard to imagine why people would place illegal bets and risk that sort of jeopardy. We’re all keeping our ear to the ground and that’s the best I can answer the question.”
And then there’s rats nest that is injury reporting. Coaches historically don’t like to reveal injuries, but as sports gambling increases around the country, there will be more and more calls for standardized injury reporting. To complicate matters though, there’s the whole HIPAA compliance thing to worry about.
Is an injury report a violation of player’s privacy? That’s a major issue, but the ACC seems to have successfully gotten around it, and the Big 12 has taken notice.
“The FERPA and HIPAA considerations are substantial. Having said that, the ACC has been announcing injury status reports for a while. They don’t get into the specific injuries but I think they use a three-tiered questionable definitely out and I don’t know what the other one is.
“So it’s not something that you can’t do on your own. We haven’t chosen to do it because we want to get some answers relative to the student records and the like, but my sense is that there’s going to be a human cry for that to happen and as long as we don’t get too far into the specifics of what the injury is and what kind of medication they may be taking and what the duration is and those kinds of things, but some sort of simple system may work.”
A simplified tiered system would probably keep the coaches happy as well, especially if they don’t have to get into duration. Plus, it would at least lessen the number of injury questions they get during the season.
As far as how sports gambling will impact college football, well, no one is quite sure on what that will look like, yet.