Well, this is normally where I might offer up a report of what happened in UW’s Wednesday practice, such as who participated and who didn’t.
But as of today, media is being prohibited from reporting on what happens in practice. This continues a trend of limiting media access to the program, as UW cut this year from four to two the number of practices open to the media — as of this year, only Tuesday and Wednesday practices have been open during the season.
Here is the policy as distributed to media today:
“As a condition of entry to UW football practices, all visitors and members of the media are hereforth prohibited from reporting on strategy or injury-related news observed during practices. No players or coaches will have any comments on injuries and any such information.”
UW coach Steve Sarkisian also explained the policy to reporters, saying:
“We’re not going to comment on injuries anymore. I’m not. No one in our organization is. It’s just a competitive disadvantage for us when other teams don’t and we do, so that’s going to be the road we take.”
Obviously, this leads to some gray areas if we see or hear things outside of practice. We were basically told to assume we shouldn’t report anything at the risk of being barred from practice. We were also told not to answer questions from readers or on message boards, etc., about what we may have seen in practice.
In distributing the policy to reporters, a UW spokesman cited other schools that also have similar policies such as Stanford, USC, Oregon and Washington State and said UW feels it has been put at a competitive disadvantage in talking about injuries previously when those schools do not.
UW had a policy of practices being closed except for the opening 20 or so minutes when Tyrone Willingham — Sarkisian’s predecessor — was coach. However, Willingham had no real policy on injuries and reporters were not prohibited from saying who was and was not practicing, etc.
When Sarkisian took over, he opened practice and said he did not mind talking about injuries. But access has been limited a bit more the past two seasons, such as the closing of all morning practices during camp last year, and closing Sunday/Monday and Thursday practices this year.
We were told that we will continue to be allowed to watch the practices that are listed as being open, but that we are to do so solely to gather information that will help in our game coverage — and also to be on hand to interview players/coaches afterward — and not to report on practice itself .
So in lieu of passing along anything seen at practice today, I will soon simply post the quotes and video of Sarkisian’s post-practice media session, as well as interviews with a couple of other players.