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'Not a viable option at this time:' NCAA won't implement standard injury reports

There won't be any standardized player availability reports in college sports this season. (Getty Images)

It’s official. College sports won’t have injury reports during the 2019-20 seasons.

The NCAA made the announcement Wednesday, saying that standard injury reports were “not a viable option at this time.” The announcement isn’t a surprise; there’s been much deliberation around the parameters and specificities of standardized injury reports. But the idea was examined as more and more states are legalizing sports betting. Secret injury information could swing betting lines and trends.

“The ad hoc committee gathered thorough feedback from conference commissioners, athletics administrators, athletic trainers and student-athletes across all three divisions about potential player availability reporting,” Ohio State president Michael Drake said in an NCAA statement. “The membership has significant concerns about the purpose, parameters, enforcement and effectiveness of a player availability reporting model.”

Since college athletes are students and not employees like professional athletes, schools and coaches can cite federal privacy laws when withholding information about player injuries. Some programs are extremely tight-lipped when it comes to revealing injury or availability information simply because they can.

Pilot program possibility reported earlier in the spring

The idea of a three-tiered injury report experiment during the 2019 season was floated earlier in the spring that would label players as “available,” “possible,” and “unavailable.”

Not long after the injury report idea became public, an NCAA spokesperson said “speculation on a pilot program is premature.”

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The NCAA also said Wednesday that a working group formed to examine the issues of players’ rights to their image and likeness would submit a report in October.

“In particular, the group will focus on solutions that tie any changes to education; maintain the clear demarcation between professional and college sports; and further align student-athletes with the general student body,” the NCAA’s statement said.

“In line with numerous steps in recent years to improve financial aid, time demands and well-being, the group will determine how best to continue improving the student-athlete experience. The forthcoming recommendations will be based on a commitment to the student-athlete experience within the context of higher education, where they are students first and not employees of their college or university.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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