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Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Coaches tight-lipped on injuries

October 3, 2003

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Injuries are part of the game.

It's one of the oldest axioms in athletics and essentially means that coaches can't do anything about injuries so they should just press on and do what they can with what they have.

In contemporary college football, though, injuries are less a part of the game because they are increasingly hidden from the public by coaches.

For example, we know that Kansas quarterback Bill Whittemore played injured in two games this year -- in the opener against Northwestern and two weeks ago against Jacksonville State. What we don't know is what those injuries were.

KU coach Mark Mangino will not give injury specifics, but he isn't alone. Practically every other Big 12 Conference coach is mum about injuries, too.

Privacy laws, most recently the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, restrict the dissemination of a person's health information. Yet HIPAA isn't the real reason coaches are stone-walling on injuries.

Or as Missouri's Gary Pinkel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "If it was left to me, we'd be like the NFL. I think that's the best way to do it: Questionable, Probable, Doubtful. Just be very honest about those things. But when other teams in your league are not releasing them, then you're at a competitive disadvantage. And I'm not going to do anything to put my players at a disadvantage."

Colorado's Gary Barnett is one of the few Big 12 Conference football coaches who still lists injuries.

In adhering to HIPAA laws, Colorado's policy on reporting injuries is to release only the name, body part and playing status, then list the player as either Out, Doubtful, Questionable, Day-to-Day or Probable.

Barnett also allows injuries to be updated during and after games, the day after the game and at the end of the next week. Moreover, on Mondays only, he and his players will talk about injuries.

So when Kansas is preparing for its trip to Colorado next week, you can expect an unlevel playing field. You'll know about Colorado's injuries, but you won't know the injury status of the Jayhawks.

Kansas is, as you know, idle this week, but I'm not. That means you won't find Open Date listed on the Whack Woodling contest. Point your Web browser to KUsports.com and give it your best shot. It's easy, and you might win a "We Whacked Woodling" T-shirt.

Here are this week's picks:

Colorado 36, Baylor 8 -- Baylor has won two straight. Colorado has lost two in a row. Both schools took last Saturday off. What does it all mean? Nothing. Buffs will bash Bears as usual. By the way, this late morning TV fare gives KU fans a chance to view the Jayhawks' next two opponents.

Nebraska 38, Troy State 0 -- Troy State stunned Kansas State-killer Marshall last week, but Trojans will lay a goose egg in Lincoln. Cornmen lead nation in total defense and QB Jammal Lord is beginning to believe he can actually throw a TD pass.

Kansas State 29, Texas 26 -- Longhorns stunned Wildcats in Manhattan last year and 'Cats will return the favor in Austin. If Arkansas can sock 'Horns at home, so can K-State, especially with QB Ell Roberson back in harness.

Oklahoma 23, Iowa State 20 -- Look out here. Sooners have won 35 of last 37 meetings with Cyclones, but Iowa State will scare dickens out of them in Ames.

Oklahoma State 36, UL-Lafayette 0 -- Since losing to Nebraska in season opener, Cowboys have fattened up on feeble nonconference foes. Coach Les Miles must be hoping his players remember what good teams are like when they play host to K-State next week.

Texas Tech 84, Texas A&M 75 -- Goodness gracious. With the kickoff at 9 p.m. and both teams likely to throw about 50 times (Tech might throw 100 times), this one could be an all-nighter if it goes into overtime.

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