Coaches’ confidential injury policies still a hot topic


I’ve followed K-State sports, especially football, since I was a little kid. Years have gone by, players have come and gone, but one thing remains constant — head coach Bill Snyder and his policies.

One of Snyder’s policies that has hindered journalists over the years is his policy on reporting injuries. Staying true to the Snyder way, he politely declines to comment on specifics regarding injuries, and having watched the ‘Cats for many years, I cannot imagine Snyder ever spilling the beans on a player’s injury.

Snyder isn’t alone in this conquest to protect injury confidentiality. Chip Kelly, head coach of the Oregon Ducks, has the same policy and chooses not to release information on team injuries. Recently, however, the Pac-12 Conference has begun looking into mandating injury reporting for the entire conference in an NFL-style manner. This has become a hot-button issue in the Pac-12 this season and would require teams to disclose whether or not a player is “questionable,” “doubtful” or “out.”

Seeing as Kelly and Snyder have the same policy when dealing with injuries, I wouldn’t doubt if this battle the Pac-12 is fighting worked its way across the Rockies into Big 12 country. Fans and journalists alike face the constant questions of whether or not players like Tyler Lockett and Ty Zimmerman, who suffered injuries against TCU this past weekend, will be in the next game — or even in the rest of the season.

I know Snyder most likely won’t change his injury policy and will fight mandated injury reporting if the issue makes its way to the Big 12, but I think it might lighten the burden of constant questioning by media about the status of big players when the team is in the national spotlight.

If this mandate brought one benefit, it would be that it creates a competitive advantage for the team with the information on the injury. For example, when Collin Klein was taken out of the game against Oklahoma State the week before last, it called into question his ability to play against TCU this past weekend, leaving the Horned Frogs uncertain as to how to plan their defense.

There is an argument for either side of the issue. Requiring teams to report the status of injured players might give opposing teams a competitive advantage, which some will construe as either genius or corrupt. The mandate also raises endless questions from journalists and reporters about a team that has soared to No. 1 in the BCS with a quarterback leading the Heisman Trophy race. At this point, I would argue that mandating injury reporting isn’t necessary, but this is the beginning of a conversation that will most likely become a bigger issue in seasons to come.

Joseph Wenberg is a sophomore in mass communications. Please send comments to