Alabama's Nick Saban not opposed to releasing injury reports

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerSeptember 26, 2012 

Alabama's Nick Saban was asked today on the SEC coaches' teleconference about having NFL-style injury reports in college, but he said he didn't have an opinion. Then he proceeded to speak thoroughly and completely on the issue.

"If everybody did it the same way, I would not be opposed to it," Saban said.

Saban gives an injury report at each of his news conferences and makes it part of his opening comments. He typically doesn't wait to be asked about injuries.

"But a lot of times in college guys are day-to-day," Saban said. "A guy misses practice on Tuesday and may be able to practice on Wednesday. So you say the guy's questionable. I usually say the guy's not going to be able to practice and we'll take it day to day. If he could practice Wednesday and Thursday, he's going to be ready to play in the game.

"We had two guys miss the Western Kentucky game (cornerback Dee Milliner and noseguard Jesse Williams) and we found out in pregame they couldn't play."

The issue has become a talking point in college football because Southern California coach Lane Kiffin has battled with reporters covering his team over injury reports. He banned Los Angeles Daily News reporter Scott Wolf for two weeks for reporting an injury. The ban was lifted after two days, and Kiffin apologized.

Kiffin also stormed out of a postpractice briefing after 28 seconds because he was asked about a specific player's injury. But Kiffin told the Orange County Register he would be fine with a conference policy about reporting injuries.

"The whole thing is not being at a competitive disadvantage,” Kiffin told the Orange County Register last week.

Pac-12 reportedly will discuss the issue in a conference-wide meeting athletic directors Oct. 8-9. The ACC requires NFL-style injury reports for conference games only.

NFL injury reports list players as out, questionable, doubtful or probable. A player is questionable if there is a 75 percent chance of him not playing. Doubtful is 50 percent, and probable is 25 percent. The NFL said it has had some kind of injury report system since 1947.

But Saban, who spent six years in the NFL as an assistant or head coach, said that system doesn't always work well.

"Even if the NFL, I think people manipulate the system to put questions in peoples' minds about whether guys are going to play or not," Saban said.

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