The Big Ten is looking to gain support for the first uniform injury report system in college football. A proposal from Big Ten athletic directors was submitted to the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee last month seeking to implement a standard injury report system that is similar to the injury reporting system in place with the NFL, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.
The driving force behind such desire for a standard injury reporting process appears to be influenced by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow for the legalization of sports gambling on a state-by-state basis. With more and more states jumping into allowing for legalized sports gambling, including some states within the Big Ten footprint, the Big Ten is looking to find a way to provide more transparency in order to protect the integrity of the game. And while the idea may be similar to the basic function of the NFL’s system of reporting injuries, the Big Ten is not looking to copy and paste it in every fashion.
“We don’t know if we want to report as many days as the NFL,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said in Dodd’s report. “[But] clearly on Mondays if somebody is injured from Saturday and you know they’re not going to play the following Saturday because they broke their leg, why not just say that?”
The NFL’s injury reports are updated on a daily basis by each NFL franchise, and the injury information is made available right on the team’s websites. NFL teams are then required to release a final injury report days before they take the field for their next game, and this injury report may rule out specific players from playing in that weekend’s game. The NFL may be transparent with (most of) the injuries for the sake of good sportsmanship, but the information is a valuable tool for those wishing to place some money on the games in football pools and various bets on the results and the spreads of games. If the Big Ten has their way with this mission of introducing a new injury report system to college football, the same information will be used in similar ways for those wishing to bet on college football games where allowed.
There are two concerns with this proposal, however. The first is getting enough support. Coaches will have to no longer accept that what they say or don’t say with regard to injuries will no longer be tolerated. Numerous coaches choose not to discuss injuries at all during a season. This would no longer be tolerated if the proposal moves forward, but every coach will then be on a level playing field regarding injury information.
The second concern is how this impacts a student’s privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects medical information regarding players from being shared publicly. Therefore, allowing for injury reports to be standardized would require finding a way around the HIPAA laws currently in place designed to protect a player’s privacy. Because of that, the Big Ten’s proposal may not be able to gain much traction if players are not on board.