Don’t expect a whole lot of information about injury, or really anything else of interest, from the media as a result of a new policy adopted by the UW football program. From now on, the media is not allowed to discuss or report any news related to injury or game strategy that is gathered from observing practices. This new decision mirrors recent changes in policy by Stanford, Oregon, USC, and WSU that also limit media access to practices.
The change isn’t completely shocking given the recent shift in attitude towards media access throughout the conference, but considering Coach Sarkisian is the one that decided to open practices to the media after several years of extremely limited access during the Willingham era, it certainly wasn’t something people anticipated happening in the short term. Sark says the decision was made in order to keep the Huskies from suffering a competitive disadvantage as a result of opponents gathering an edge based on injury or game planning information reported by the media, and noted that other schools implementing similar policies has made it necessary for Washington to do the same in order to remain competitive.
July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian (left), quarterback Keith Price (center), and corner back Michael Clay talk to the media during PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
While it is tough to absolutely deny Sark’s logic, I personally think the precautions are a little much. I have never witnessed any member of the media release any game planning information in the past, and if injury information staying a secret is really the difference between winning and losing for this team, the Huskies may be in more trouble than I thought. I just don’t think it is worth alienating the media and the fan base, but obviously the coaching staff disagrees with me, and that is their decision.
It is safe to say that the media members that cover Husky practices are not at all pleased, and I do not blame them. This new policy will hurt coverage going forward, and more than anything, I think it’s a continuation of a troubling trend towards shutting the media out of college football.