Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany supports injury report idea that college football has needed for years

Tribune News Service • Jul 23, 2018 at 10:51 PM

CHICAGO (TNS) — College football does not have a standardized injury report.

Jim Delany and the Big Ten want to change that.

At Monday on Big Ten media days, the Big Ten commissioner spoke about the desire to put that kind of system into place.

"It's something we should do and probably should have done before, but certainly should do it now," Delany said.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported in early July that the Big Ten first pitched the idea of a public injury report similar to what the NFL does. One of the driving forces behind the push is the legalization of sports gambling in the United States back in May. With the money that could be changing hands in the future, gamblers should know exactly what they're betting on before doing so.

"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," Delany said. "And therefore, when players are unavailable, we should know that."

He clarified that while states can now legalize betting, he wants a national framework in place to protect non-professional sports like college football.

Whether that ends up being the reason for an injury report, it's something that's been needed for a long time. There has been little transparency on the availability of players in the past, with that kind of information being released at the discretion of each school.

Some schools are better at this than others. But too many times have teams either misled or been very vague about the status of players for games. It's an annoyance that could become a major problem when you add legalized betting into the equation.

The NFL has had injury reports for years. So why not college football? It comes down to the schools being willing to join in.

"We have an injury report at Northwestern that we've done for a number of years," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "I've been accused of sometimes being honest and sometimes being less than honest."

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who did not make a 2017 roster available until just before the Wolverines' season opener vs. Florida, also offered his thoughts. A former NFL coach with the 49ers, Harbaugh has had experience with injury reports.

"I'd be fine with that. If we do an injury report, I'll do an injury report," Harbaugh said.

Delany did refer to the list as more about player availability than just purely about injuries. It's a fair concept since players miss games for team rules or violations all the time.

But whatever you want to call it, this idea is long overdue. College football has often been about secrecy leading up to the game. And sometimes, it goes too far.

It won't hurt college football if that curtain gets lowered.

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