Georgia tells reporters to keep mum on injuries until Kirby Smart gives the okay
Kirby Smart is Nick Saban‘s protege. This we know. Georgia hired Smart to bring its program Saban-like results, and in doing so gave Smart permission to run the program with Saban-like methods.
One of those methods is extreme control over the media.
On Tuesday, Georgia announced it will require media to keep mum on injuries it learns of -- including injuries it may witness during open periods of practice -- until Smart is asked about them.
Beginning today, injuries -- non-contact jerseys and injuries seen in front of media -- can't be reported until Kirby Smart is asked.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) April 18, 2017
Georgia will argue this A) provides a competitive advantage and/or B) is a necessary precaution to alert a players’ parents to a potential injury before it reaches the media and/or C) both.
The media will counter that Pete Carroll‘s USC teams managed to build a dynasty while being more open with the media than anyone in the country, and that putting a player in a non-contact jersey during practice doesn’t meet the threshold of argument B.
Associated Press writer Ralph Russo tweeted how he would respond if asked to comply with Georgia’s policy.
Of course, Russo is a national reporter not dependent on daily access at Georgia in order to do his job. The editors at, say, the Athens Banner-Herald may take a different view.
The end result here is that fans ultimately don’t care and will support the program no matter how transparent it chooses to be or not be -- as long as Smart and company win. If they don’t win, Smart will be gone in due time, though this policy will have nothing to do with it.