Part of the reasoning behind coach Kirby Smart’s new policy on media reporting injuries from practice at Georgia comes down to winning games, he acknowledged Thursday.
Smart called it “really a big disadvantage in the season for us for our opponents to know every kid that’s injured, every kid that’s out, every kid that’s not practicing,” Smart said. “When that information gets out to an opponent it can be a detriment to our team. I’m trying to protect the team with that information.”
There is no uniform policy in the SEC for how media can report injuries from practice. That’s left up to each school.
Reporters who cover some teams—including Alabama—report players in non-contact jersey or not practicing like Georgia long has allowed. SEC East teams Tennessee and Missouri are more restrictive.
Smart made a move on Tuesday—now expected to be implemented for practices in the preseason with minor adjustments after push back from writers—that would restrict reporters from putting out information on injuries from what they see at practice until Smart comments on it.
That came after reports last week that freshman defensive back Deangelo Gibbs sustained a shoulder injury after he was hurt while media were watching. He missed the scrimmage Saturday but practiced Thursday.
“Some of the parents got upset with the way we handled the injury,” Smart said. “Really, more our fault for not putting the policy in place to not allow comments on injuries from a perspective of an injury that happens while the media is viewing. That’s important to keep that part safe for them.”
Smart was asked if he would favor an “NFL-like injury report” in the SEC.
“I think if everybody did it, it would be great,” Smart said. “To say, I’m in favor of it or against it, I’m not either way. I think that obviously puts everybody in the same position. I’m going to know the same thing about whoever we’re playing just like they know about us. That’s why they do it in the NFL.”