Should college football adopt the NFL's injury-reporting system?

September 18, 2012
  • USC Coach Lane Kiffin suspended a beat writer for reporting that a Trojans kicker had undergone surgery. The coach later apologized.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin suspended a beat writer for reporting that a Trojans… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether college football should introduce an injury-reporting system like that of the NFL. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

College football needs a 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.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, for instance, has an NFL-type system for reporting injuries for league games only.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he will address the issue with his athletic directors next month. Scott has a history of getting things done and this is something that needs to be resolved.

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." Should that student be subject to suspension?

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.

The Pac-12's Scott has already borrowed from the NFL in using home-field advantage for the Pac-12 championship game. He needs to borrow again.

Mark Wogenrich, Allentown Morning Call

Demanding injury reports from college football coaches holds little benefit for members of the sports media, who often deserve their reputations as whiners. But a uniform reporting policy probably would benefit all parties.

A weekly report, such as the one ACC teams must file, could list player statuses (Out, doubtful, questionable, etc.) and the injury of those sidelined in 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 (Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien describes every injury as "day to day") while complying in general. And fans and reporters would have a baseline gauge for the weekly roster.

I would hope the media, as well as coaches, could agree to middle-ground terms.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

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.


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