When bookies look to create betting lines for college football, they know how important injuries are to the outcomes of games. In the NFL, injuries that will affect whether or not a player will be able to play in a game are reported in an official injury report. Reporters that cover the NFL still have to get to the bottom of the vague descriptions in those injury reports, but at least there is an organized list that tells people who is playing and who is not.
In college football, no such list exists and coaches are not required to provide one. The schools each have policies on dealing with injuries and reporting them that are all filed under the auspices of player safety. But the fact that college football does not have any sort of official injury report is problematic for several reasons. The online sports betting world is affected by the lack of a college injury report, but it is not the only group that is affected.
The way that college football injury reporting works today is that the media asks about a specific player and the coach confirms or denies reports of an injury. Coaches have learned that they have to at least confirm or deny the possibility of an injury or else the players’ parents and college watchdog groups will come down on the football program. The coaches do not mind the media speculating on player injuries, but college football programs do not want to keep parents in the dark about player injuries.
When you read a college injury report in a major newspaper or on a website, you will often see a lot of question marks listed with the injuries. Those are the injuries that coaches would not confirm nor deny, but the media is pretty convinced that the injury exists. Reporting injuries at the pro level is done to try and help level out competition. But at the college level, it has more significance than just helping a team to game plan for an opponent.
Any bookie agent will tell you that recent rashes of college football scandals has the parents of players watching football programs very closely. If a college football program does not disclose an injury and then puts an injured player out on the field, then that is jeopardizing the health of that young player. The parents of college football players have a problem with that.
In the pro game, there is no concern with whether or not a player’s parents will intervene on behalf of the player to pull him out of the program because the parents do not feel that the program has the player’s best interests in mind. But in college football, that could happen and is more likely to happen if college football cannot clean up its act. An organized injury reporting system would be a great start towards getting college football more parent-friendly, but none of the college programs seem in too big of a hurry to get that done.