Georgia’s head coach ain’t backing down on the new media policy regarding injuries.
The new policy states that all injuries cannot be reported until Smart is asked and addresses them publicly. It also states that reporters are prohibited from “releasing information and/or photo/video of players who are working out separately with the sports medicine staff and players (other than quarterbacks) wearing black practice jerseys.” Injuries that occur when reporters are at practice were also banned.
On Thursday, Smart was given the chance to explain his new injury policy with the media. First, he said he would like to inform an injured player’s parents first before the media reports an injury if it happens in front of reporters. This occurred last Thursday, when freshman defensive back Deangelo Gibbs went down with a shoulder injury in front of reporters. Gibbs’ mother found about it through a published story before Georgia could relay the information, which upset Smart.
Is Ms. Gibbs a subject for empathy or merely a convenient excuse? Put me down for the latter. For one thing, as Chip Towers writes,
… Gibbs’ situation, which occurred during a 10-minute media viewing period, is actually very rare. If you ask me, the policy on a situation like that should be internal for Georgia.
As in, “you know, media were there when Johnny got hurt. Can someone from the training staff or one of the 50 analysts on the football staff please call his mom?”
Really. It shouldn’t be that hard when you’ve got a support staff the size of a small army at your beck and call.
For another, Kirby shows his hole card.
But Smart then mentioned what he considers a bigger picture for the new policy. That has to do with preventing other teams, during the football season, from accessing injury information.
“It would be a big disadvantage in the season for us, for our opponents to know every kid that’s injured, every kid that’s out, every kid that’s not practicing,” Smart said. “When that information gets out to our opponent it can be a detriment to our team. I’m trying to protect the team with that information.”
Gosh, that has a familiar ring to it. Where have I heard… oh, yeah.
“At that recruiting time of year they get absolutely inundated with people wanting to have that recruiting information and it’s not a level playing field because Georgia, our athletic associations, are private in and of themselves and they don’t have that capacity, so this just allows that type of level playing field,” Ehrhart said.
I’d love to see some stats that demonstrate a correlation between heightened secrecy and improved winning percentage. Maybe Bill Connelly can factor that into his next S&P+ rankings.
Anyway, I think Butt gets this exactly right when he says,
Injuries are a part of football, given the violent nature of the sport. Reporting those injuries, indicating which players will be available or not for games, is a major part of covering a football beat.
Why so? Because, believe it or not, it’s something we fans are interested in. Remember us, the G-Day recruiting props?
Now Kirby acknowledges there’s a possible solution for everyone that he’s on board with. Well, kinda, sorta, maybe…
Smart would be OK with an SEC injury report of some sort but stopped short of saying he supports such a measure.
“I think if everybody did it that would be great,” Smart said. “To say I’m in favor of it or against it, I’m not either way. I just think that obviously puts everyone in the same position. I’m going to know the same thing about whoever we’re playing, just like they know about us. That’s why they do it in the NFL. They do it that way because it makes a little more parity, a little more even across the league.
“I think it makes things fair. But I’m not sitting here saying I want it by any means.”
Fair, schmair. In other words, don’t expect him to lead that crusade. It’s all he can handle right now keeping things on the lowdown.