Georgia coach Kirby Smart alluded to a new player injury Tuesday during a radio appearance, but an addition to the school’s media policy he planned to implement that day would have kept the media from reporting on it from observations at that afternoon’s practice.
The policy emailed Tuesday afternoon hours before practice said that media members can’t report on players wearing non-contact jerseys, working with the training staff or becoming injured during open portions of practice unless Smart provides information about their medical status.
Five beat reporters who cover the team informed Georgia athletics that they would not comply with the restrictive policy because it “goes too far beyond the scope of what is acceptable in our eyes .” So Tuesday’s practice—scheduled to be open for 11 minutes—was entirely closed instead.
Georgia doesn’t open its season until four and a half months away on Sept. 2.
It now is expected to delay and perhaps make minor adjustments to the injury policy until preseason practices, meaning Thursday’s final practice before Saturday’s spring game would be covered without change. Further discussions about the policy with the media will continue.
We live in Trump’s world, so I know for a certain segment of the fan base, this face off rates anywhere from “who cares?” to “hells, yeah, Kirby!”, but for me it’s just sad for control freaks to be allowed this much free rein. If you’re reading a blog like this (let alone writing one), then you’re interested in what’s going on with Georgia football and significant media restrictions are a blow to that flow of information.
Or, to put it another way, any policy that’s good enough for Booch shouldn’t be good enough for Georgia football.
If there’s no resolution to this, my guess is we’re headed to a point where all practices are completely closed to the media. And, yeah, ultimately if Smart wins big, that’ll be no skin off his back; if he doesn’t, just add it to the list of grievances. Treating the fan base as being on a strictly need to know basis isn’t the best way to encourage interest, but as long as we keep responding to G-Day challenges, it’s all good, no?