CHICAGO — Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany would prefer to call it a “player availability” listing rather than an injury report.
But he acknowledged that greater transparency about which players might miss college football games in the coming new landscape with legalized sports gambling would be beneficial.
“I think we need to do that nationally,” Delany said Monday during the first day of the Big Ten’s football media days. “I think the reason we need to do that is probably with the exception of the home field, the availability of personnel is critical to people who are interested in gambling legally or illegally.
“And therefore, when players are unavailable, we should know that, if they're probably or likely. I don't have the model code, but I do think it's something that we should do and probably should have done it before, but certainly should do it now.”
Delany said that sports administrators have discussed at length the coming changes.
“The first thing I would say is I think we've got great students playing football. Trust them. (But) they're young. We need to continue to educate them about the challenges associated with gambling and the importance of the integrity of the game.
"But I don't think that they are more vulnerable today than they were before the Sullivan (Supreme Court) case.”
Nittany Lions have
Penn State lost superstar running back Saquon Barkley and nine other starters from its 2017 team, but the Nittany Lions still expect to contend for the Big Ten title.
“We probably have more question marks going into this season than we've had the last two years,” coach James Franklin said. “We lost a lot of production.”
Penn State lost eight starters on defense, and Franklin is most concerned about replacing three senior defensive tackles and middle linebacker Jason Cabinda. But he is heartened by the return of numerous defensive backups who saw extensive playing time.
On offense, the loss of Barkley and other playmakers is lightened by the return of Heisman Trophy candidate Trace McSorley at quarterback and a veteran offensive line.
“Trace is a guy that you look all the way back to little league, all he's done is won,” Franklin said. “He’s been highly, highly productive and is universally respected throughout our entire program. He has done things the right way.”
maize and blue
Ed Warinner, who was shuffled off the Ohio State coaching staff after the 2016 season following two years as offensive coordinator, was hired by Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh this past winter to coach the Wolverines' linemen. Harbaugh said Monday the lure was Warinner’s knowledge of the game and Big Ten opponents, and that his background at OSU was just a minimal part of the allure.
“He’s a good dude, really good to work with,” Harbaugh added. “I enjoy watching tape with him, talking football with him."
Warinner has made an impact on the offensive line play, too, said defensive end Chase Winovich.
“I’ve definitely seen some difference in the offensive line play, and specifically just how the kids in general are grasping the schematics of the protection schemes,” Winovich said. “I think this year, from what I can tell through spring ball, it seemed like guys were picking it up … so that when we did implement new defenses and stuff, they were better able to adapt on the fly than maybe they were in the past.”
First-year Nebraska coach Scott Frost, fresh off leading Central Florida to a 13-0 record, is all for expanding the College Football Playoff.
“I’d like to see an eight-team playoff … including the Power 5 conference champions” and three at-large teams, Frost said.
Harbaugh concurred, and then some.
“Let’s go to eight, and eventually get to 16,” he said.