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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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July 23, 2008 7:28 PM

ACC to release official injury reports

Posted by Bob Condotta

I spotted this one a few days late, but here's an interesting story that the ACC plans to release official injury reports for all of its member schools twice a week this season.

Here's another story with even more detail, saying that the league will announce pending surgeries and season-ending injuries on Monday and then a status report for the weekend on Thursday based on the NFL's long-time standards of out, doubtful, questionable and probable.

This could be a good thing if everyone goes along with it, though the ACC says schools that don't comply won't be punished in any way (I've heard nothing to indicate the Pac-10 is considering anything like this).

Sounds like it was an idea of North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien, who was a finalist for the UW job when he was at Boston College when it instead went to Tyrone Willingham, and he's to be applauded for trying something.

Injury updates are one of the biggest constant sources of friction between coaches --- most of whom want to keep that info as secret as possible (including Willingham); and reporters --- who mostly are trying to get the info at the behest of fans, who want to know who is playing that weekend.

Since there's never been any uniformity, each college sets its injury-update policy based coach. Guys like Arizona State's Dennis Erickson or USC's Pete Carroll have generally been pretty open about injuries, apparently figuring everyone is going to find out anyway. WSU has released official injury reports through its SID office the last few years.

Other schools, however, try to keep that info as hush-hush as possible, seeming to view keeping injuries quiet as a way to get a competitive edge (and in Willingham's case, it fits in with his close-to-the-vest manner about every topic).

The view of many coaches is typified in the quote in The Sporting News story by Virginia coach Al Groh saying he's in favor of the reports, but apparently only so he won't have to answer all those "stupid questions.''

It must be comforting for parents or relatives of Virginia's players to know that Groh views queries about the health of those players as "stupid.'' Wonder if he feels the same way when those parents or relatives ask him directly how their loved ones are doing? In essence, that's all we're doing --- asking the question for the thousands out there who don't have the same access we do but want to know, many of whom may be a high school coach or teacher of the player in question.

I can attest that whenever a player is injured, I gets tons of e-mails and questions asking how the player is doing, a good recent case in point being the Juan Garcia situation.

Reporters ask because fans want to know. And while coaches often want to publicly hold to the "next man up'' theory of simply moving on once a player is injured, it's not that simple for fans, who often grow emotionally attached to the players they watch --- they wouldn't pay all that money for tickets (money that helps pay the increasingly high salaries of Groh and his fellow coaches) if they didn't care so much.

Maybe standardized injury reports would at least end the song-and-dance between coaches and reporters, though if there's nothing compelling the coaches to comply, such reports might not carry much credibility.

And there will always be uncertainty --- listing a player as "questionable'' on Thursday wouldn't prevent that player from being able to play on Saturday. Still, it'll be interesting to see how this is received in the ACC and if it becomes a standard throughout college football.


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