Potential legalization of sports gambling could impact NCAA rules

On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down a federal law that prohibited states from authorizing sports gambling.

While this decision does not officially legalize commercial sports gambling nationwide, it gives individual states the option of doing so if they wish.

Eight of the 11 states that are home to teams in the Big Ten Conference have put forward legislation to legalize sports gambling, but only two of those states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have actually passed bills.

Currently, Nebraska has not put forward any legislation to legalize sports gambling.

While the NCAA currently prohibits their athletes from gambling, the decision could still have a profound impact on its sports, specifically football.

The most impactful change it could cause is the release of weekly injury reports, something that is not currently required by the NCAA. Many coaches prefer not to disclose who is unavailable for upcoming games because of both privacy concerns and gamesmanship. With sports gambling legalized, it could become a requirement to aid oddsmakers to set more accurate lines on the game.

Whether coaches will have to give accurate weekly injury reports remains to be seen. Many coaches use HIPAA, a federal law instated to keep medical information private, as a reason to not disclose injuries.

Adjusting to the potential new laws was a frequent topic at Big Ten Media Days in July.

“We've had a lot of discussion about the changes in gambling that will obviously occur in the coming years,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said during his media appearance. “We need to continue to educate them about the challenges associated with gambling and the importance of the integrity of the game.”

In regards to injury reports, Delany was a proponent of providing weekly “availability” reports.

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