BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU has a new, more “transparent” injury reporting policy that football coach Brian Kelly described Thursday as a “proactive” response to the proliferation of legalized sports betting.
For Kelly, one concern is the specter of gamblers hounding football staffs for insider information.
“I’m not saying that happened. I’m not saying that would happen,” Kelly said. “I think it’s better to be proactive in those situations and take away even the temptation to even have that in this building and not be that next school that goes down that path.”
The new LSU policy comes on the heels of criminal charges against current and former Iowa and Iowa State athletes – including Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers – that stemmed from gambling investigations at those schools.
Some of the Iowa and Iowa State players allegedly used online gambling accounts set up under other names to place bets on games, including those involving their own teams.
Kelly periodically has been forthcoming in the past about various players’ injuries when asked, but said he wanted a more consistent policy going forward.
“I thought it was important given the nature of what’s going on today out there relative to reporting and gaming,” Kelly said after the Tigers’ opening practice of training camp. “We wanted to make sure that we were transparent with injuries, not putting any pressure on anybody here to guess who’s in, who’s out” for a given game.
Kelly said LSU’s injury reports will be released twice during the game weeks and look similar to NFL injury reports.
“When we get to Saturday, if somebody is doubtful, we’ll give you ‘available,’ or ‘unavailable,'” Kelly said.
Kelly said his staff already has discussed that no one should even have a gaming app on their phone – one reason being that smart phones have geographic locators on them.
“There shouldn’t be any of those (apps) on any of our players’ phones or anyone in this building,” Kelly said.
Kelly also downplayed the possibility that, without uniform reporting rules across college football, LSU could be at a tactical disadvantage on the field by being more forthcoming about injuries in the days leading up to games.
Kelly said the ability to keep opponents in the dark about certain players’ availability is “overrated.”
“I can’t tell you how many times we didn’t know a particular quarterback was playing. You’ve got to adjust on the fly,” Kelly said. “So, I think it’s much ado about nothing, and I think we angst over the littlest things that don’t really affect the game and make too much of it.
“I don’t want it to be a situation where it causes something to the point where somebody loses their job or somebody loses eligibility,” Kelly added. “I mean, that’s a bigger issue than, well, we got a tactical advantage today because we found out he was playing.”
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