A turbulent period followed by US gambling-related firings and potential NCAA breaches in college sports influenced the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to pay close attention to the issue at its recent meeting.
According to the Associated Press, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey requested US Integrity to give multiple presentations to SEC coaches and administrators. US Integrity is a company that works with professional sports leagues and college conferences, including the SEC, to monitor events for gambling improprieties.
Since there have been various sports betting scandals in college sports over the past month, the SEC thought more education was needed.
Sankey said that “more sophisticated” ideas need to be explored. According to AP, he said:
“We now have the issues emerging as it’s become inculturated. We don’t have a choice but to pay a high level of attention.”
Several recent betting scandals that led to investigation
Last month, Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon got fired during an investigation by gaming officials in Ohio. It was due to suspicious bets on the Tide’s game against LSU in late April.
Bohannon interacted with an Indiana man who placed two bets on the game at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The Tide’s starting pitcher was a late scratch due to an injury during the game.
Soon after, the Ohio Casino Control Commission commanded sportsbooks in the state to stop accepting baseball game bets concerning the University of Alabama.
There was also an Iowa betting controversy allegedly involving more than 40 athletes suspended from playing pending an investigation into suspicious betting activity. Iowa State notified the NCAA that about 15 athletes on the football, wrestling and track and field teams likely violated NCAA rules.
Several University of Cincinnati staff members lost their jobs due to a sports betting controversy. The scandal occurred after a player’s parent, Bert Neff, communicated with staff before placing bets.
Coaches state their concerns over some of the rules
It has been stated that an injury report should be produced ahead of each fixture to reduce such controversies in college sports. That would eliminate team leaks that could influence suspicious betting activity and possible malversations.
But Sankey emphasized that an injury report is “not coming anytime soon in the SEC.” He believes it would not directly address the potential problems:
“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.”
LSU coach Brian Kelly thought of how he could tighten the circle of people in the football building. That could be challenging since many can access the team’s internal injury report. As Kelly stated:
“Our injury report goes to over 25 different people. I’m not sure that I need that to go to 25 different people. I think maybe that the injury report needs to come to the head coach and the head coach can make decisions on where that information goes to.”