Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany supports establishing a national injury report, a topic renewed by the approval of sports gambling in multiple states.
Delany opened conference media days in Chicago on Monday discussing the impact of legislation that could kick open the door to federal approval of sports betting.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion about the changes in gambling that will obviously occur in the coming years. Couple things. First thing I would say is I think we’ve got great students playing football. Trust them. They’re young,” Delany said. “We need to continue to educate them about the challenges associated with gambling and the importance of the integrity of the game.
“But I don’t think that they are more vulnerable today than they were before the Sullivan case. That’s the first thing I’d say. The second thing is I think we’ve got to double down on the educational element. I think we’ve done that over the years and we continue to do that.”
Delany said he doesn’t consider an injury report model such as the one used by the NFL each week a necessity. But he said he does believe fans and others with interest should know which players are available.
“I don’t call it an injury report as much as I think about it as player availability,” he said. “Whether that comes out of an injury or whether it comes out of eligibility or comes out of some transgression of one kind or another, I think we need to do that.
“I think we need to do that nationally. And I think the reason we need to do that is probably with the exception of the home field, the availability of personnel is critical to people who are interested in gambling legally or illegally. And therefore, when players are unavailable, we should know that, if they’re probably or likely, I don’t have the model code, but I do think it’s something that we should do and probably should have done it before, but certainly should do it now.”
Delany responded to recent comments from national champion Villanova coach Jay Wright that college basketball players should make a three-year commitment instead of one, which is required for entry into the NBA.
The so-called one-and-done rule stipulates players must be one year removed from high school — a few notable athletes opted to play overseas — even in the most extreme circumstances.
“The NBA has gone back and forth on this issue,” Delany said. “But we don’t have control over that. We don’t really try to have control over that. But when they do things that are disruptive — and certainly, I think, the one-and-done has been to some extent disruptive — it’s not good for us and I’m not sure how good it is for them.
“From a personal perspective, it seems to me like the NFL model works for the NFL and its players. It works for us. There’s no choice there. But I think everybody recognizes that most high school players aren’t ready to play in college. Not even thinking seriously about putting a 17- or 18-year-old onto an NFL team.”
—Field Level Media