Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Florida Gators

Sports betting discussed at SEC meetings, but few answers yet

DESTIN — As SEC administrators and coaches met for hours at the Hilton Sandestin, they didn't seem to have any resolutions over one of their most pressing issues.

What do you do about the recent Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legalized sports gambling?

"I think we're all trying to get our arms around that," Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin said.

It's been less than three weeks since the court ruled that federal laws couldn't stop states from choosing to allow betting on sports, and no changes are imminent in Florida and most other states. But the SEC is trying to sort through some big-picture issues now before getting into specifics as gambling grows and football season nears.

"My statement is, we need to take time to learn," commissioner Greg Sankey said. "It's new."

Sports betting itself isn't new. It was already legal in Nevada, and it was happening in the shadows, either online or elsewhere.

What's new is the prospect of being able to legally bet on games easily. The fact that Mississippi, a state with two SEC programs, is expected to be one of the first states to open up gambling adds to the urgency.

RELATED: What's next for sports gambling after the Supreme Court ruling Monday

If betting expands, Sankey said college athletics could be especially susceptible to gamblers seeking information.

NFL teams have only 53 players on each roster. College teams have 85 on scholarship, plus walk-ons. Add in coaches, support staff, trainers and students who see players around campus, and there are hundreds of people who could link bettors to players.

"There's a lot of touchpoints," Sankey said.

The concern is that those touchpoints start affecting the outcomes of games. Schools were already educating players about those possibilities, but they plan to ramp up those efforts before the fall to explain what the court's ruling means, what it doesn't mean and, most importantly, what to do if someone contacts you about point shaving.

"The integrity of the game and what takes place on the courts and in the fields and every place else is really important," Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said. "This just gives you another reminder of staying on top of that on a regular basis."

While schools are steadfast about protecting the integrity of their games, they're still processing almost everything else.

The SEC has had occasional conversations with oddsmakers alerting them to potential issues in the past. Sankey isn't yet sure how those conversations might improve or be streamlined.

While the ACC has an injury report that could help gamblers, the SEC doesn't. The SEC doesn't have a concrete proposal for one, and administrators aren't yet sure how health and student privacy laws might affect its implementation.

There's even uncertainty about one of the few consensus actions: Increased education.

What new kinds of new training is necessary? Do you need to expand the compliance staff? By how many people?

"What are those costs going to be?" Stricklin asked. "Is there something you can do to offset those costs?"

The SEC's coaches and administrators spent this week discussing those questions. They have what's left of the offseason to start coming up with answers.

Comments
Florida Gators’ Van Jefferson can play this fall

Florida Gators’ Van Jefferson can play this fall

Florida receiver Van Jefferson can play immediately after receiving a waiver by the SEC, the Gators announced Monday morning.Jefferson needed the waiver after transferring from Ole Miss because of its NCAA mess. In two years with the Rebels, he had 9...
Published: 08/13/18
Five thoughts from Florida Gators’ practice

Five thoughts from Florida Gators’ practice

GAINESVILLE — The Florida Gators continued preseason camp Saturday with two and a half hours of practice that were fully open to the media.A few observations:Running back Malik Davis (Jesuit High) looks fully recovered from the knee injury...
Published: 08/11/18
The SEC reigns (again) thanks to college football’s best quarterback collection

The SEC reigns (again) thanks to college football’s best quarterback collection

The SEC built itself into the best conference in the country thanks largely to the ground game and defense.Not this year.If the SEC is going to reestablish itself as the best in the sport, the league will do so with the best collection of quarterback...
Published: 08/10/18
Browns rookie, former Florida Gator Antonio Callaway cited for marijuana possession

Browns rookie, former Florida Gator Antonio Callaway cited for marijuana possession

BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns rookie Antonio Callaway has been cited for marijuana possession, the latest drama involving one of the team’s wide receivers. Callaway was pulled over in his car by Strongsville, Ohio police at 2:59 a.m. on Sunday. Acco...
Published: 08/07/18
With Urban Meyer uncertainty, where does Ohio State belong in AP preseason top 25?

With Urban Meyer uncertainty, where does Ohio State belong in AP preseason top 25?

With Ohio State's investigation into Urban Meyer expected to wrap up within two weeks, the Buckeyes should know whether he's coaching them before their Sept. 1 season opener against Oregon State.Unfortunately, that timeline means I probably won't kno...
Published: 08/07/18
Why the Florida Gators think their defense will rebound after historic low

Why the Florida Gators think their defense will rebound after historic low

GAINESVILLE — The low point in one of the worst defensive seasons in Gators history came at Missouri in November.Still smarting from the bizarre exit of coach Jim McElwain six days earlier, Florida watched the Tigers run all over the field...
Published: 08/06/18
Florida Gators’ quarterback battle will be won by routine plays, not extraordinary ones

Florida Gators’ quarterback battle will be won by routine plays, not extraordinary ones

GAINESVILLE — When the Gators opened the first preseason camp of the Dan Mullen era Friday, redshirt sophomore Feleipe Franks got the first reps as starting quarterback.Whether he earns that title for the opener against Charleston Southern...
Published: 08/03/18
Willie Taggart, The Incredibles and more on college football-only facilities

Willie Taggart, The Incredibles and more on college football-only facilities

Some extra nuggets that didn't make our deep dive into the football-only facilities that have become a key part of the college sports arms race:Florida State coach Willie Taggart had one of the biggest and shiniest at Oregon but doesn’t have on...
Published: 08/03/18
Inside college football’s latest facilities craze: the football-only complex

Inside college football’s latest facilities craze: the football-only complex

To understand the frontline of a college football arms race that's playing out in Florida and across the nation, look to the extremes.There are the big and bold extravagances that wow recruits — like barbershops, mini-golf courses and TVs ...
Published: 08/03/18
The question Gators coach Dan Mullen was relieved to answer

The question Gators coach Dan Mullen was relieved to answer

GAINESVILLE — Here's how heavy the off-field drama surrounding the Gators has become: Coach Dan Mullen seemed relieved during Thursday's media day when he finally was asked about his unsettled quarterback competition.Surrounding that answer ...
Published: 08/02/18