Harbaugh, Fitzgerald would support league-wide injury report in Big Ten

Ohio State’s Gene Smith also wants coaches to be more transparent about injuries

The idea of a league-wide injury report in the Big Ten or throughout college football — similar to what is done in the NFL — continues to gain momentum.

Ohio State Buckeyes Athletic Director Gene Smith talked in June about the idea of being more transparent about injuries and killing the idea of gamesmanship surrounding injuries. Concealing injuries as a way to gain an advantage against an opponent is common in the game.

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At Big Ten Media Days on Monday in Chicago, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said his program has had an injury report for a number of years and he’s been accused of being less than honest with the injuries listed.

“I would agree with that, you know, quite frankly,” Fitzgerald said. “But if we move forward to where we have to have a fully transparent conference-wide or national one, I'd have no problem with that, as long as we adhere to it. There needs to be accountability. If there's not accountability to it, then I'll do whatever I have to do to protect our players, first and foremost, and protect our program second, in full disclosure of transparency.”

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The introduction of injury reports to college sports would be a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down a federal law prohibiting sports gambling. The NFL's injury report was created after a gambling scandal.

Coaches are already preparing their players for the changes that come with that decision.

“As far as gambling, don't associate with gamblers, avoid it like the plague,” said Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh of his advice to his players. “Don't walk away from that, run.”

Harbaugh is well known for giving few details about injuries, but said he would be fine with a league-wide injury report.

“If we want to do an injury report,” Harbaugh said, “we can do an injury report.”

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