No more deception
Absolutely. Especially after USC's Lane Kiffin made a fool of himself last week by suspending a beat writer for (correctly) reporting that a Trojans kicker had undergone surgery. Kiffin ignored his own policy, which was to punish media members who report an injury while observing practice. Surgeries don't take place during practice, so Kiffin apologized. Now he needs to apologize for having his team unprepared to play Stanford.
By introducing an NFL-style injury report, coaches could worry more about coaching. And players would no longer be encouraged to deceive the public. And, most importantly, injury information would be in the hands of everyone, rather than gamblers who apply pressure to program insiders.
Only gamblers benefit
The battle between coaches and reporters over the status of injured players is as old as the game itself. Journalists spend more time trying to figure out who is not on the field than who is.
Some college coaches believe injury information gives them a competitive advantage. Please, the only people who gain advantage are those in the gambling industry, whose wagers are affected with every tweaked ankle or twisted knee.
That's why it's a breath of fresh air to hear Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott tout the idea of a league-wide injury report much like the NFL uses. It would help even out the playing field among the teams and help everyone spend less time worrying about who's in and who's out. Imagine that, a little bit of honesty in college football.
Stop the coach cover-ups
College football needs an injury-report system to stop the madness of coaches covering up, lying and banning reporters for doing their jobs. There is no "commissioner" in college football who can wave a wand and implement a uniform system for the sport, but individual conferences can, and should, come up with their own policies.
It is foolish, in the Internet age, to ban reporters for reporting information that any student on campus with a Facebook page can forward to the masses. "Hey, I just saw Matt Barkley walking out of his history class with a walking boot."
The NFL-type system is far from perfect, but you can at least monitor the coach who puts every player down as "questionable" for an upcoming game.
Uniform policy beneficial
Demanding injury reports from college football coaches holds little benefit for sports reporters, who often deserve their reputations as whiners. But a uniform reporting policy likely would benefit all parties.
A weekly report, such as the one ACC teams must file, could list player statuses and the injury of those sidelined for the long term. Players would authorize release of non-specific information per the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act, which some schools cite as the reason for not providing injury reports.
Coaches, meanwhile, could remain as circumspect as they want regarding specifics while complying in general. And fans and reporters would have a baseline gauge for the weekly roster.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun