Michigan Wolverines, NCAA should adapt NFL injury reporting policy


The Michigan Wolverines venture into their rivalry game with Michigan State besieged with injuries.

Three key players will definitely miss Saturday’s game at Spartan Stadium, while four others may never get off the bench.

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RB Derrick Green is definitely out for the season, and it appears  WR Drake Harris and LB Desmond Morgan are headed down the same path.

Gardner, Funchess will play

WR Jehu Chesson, OL Erik Magnuson, QB Shane Morris and DB Jabrill Peppers are listed as “questionable” by USA Today, but we won’t know for sure until both teams take the field.

And despite not being 100%, QB Devin Gardner and WR Devin Funchess will play.

While the above information appears relatively straightforward, reporting it has been troublesome for  Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.

In fact, he’s made light of reporting players’ injuries over the past few seasons,  often calling them  “Boo-Boos.”

An advantage?

This year, with so many, Hoke has adopted a new “policy,” stating on many occasions that he won’t discuss an injury unless the player is out for the season. Apparently,  hiding a player’s physical condition until the last minute might give Michigan an advantage.

But fans (and those who might wager on the games) want to know when their favorite player might be better off on the sideline.

It was only a few weeks ago (Sept.27 vs. Minnesota)  that this issue  was brought front-and-center when quarterback Shane Morris was allowed to return to action after he wobbled to the sideline with apparent “concussion-like” symptoms.

The firestorm that followed has been well documented. Both Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon have been scolded by University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel and the Board of Regents.

No formal policy

At this point, you’d think that Hoke would put and end to his “injury reporting hijinks.”

While there is no formal injury reporting policy in the NCAA, the Big Ten or at Michigan, all three might be better served by adopting the one currently employed by the National Football League.

Sep 20, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez participates in the Wildcat Walk before their 49-45 victory over the California Golden Bears at Arizona Stadium. Rodriguez was head coach of the Michigan Wolverines from 2008-10.  Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Both Brandon and Hoke should be well aware of the policy used by previous Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, reports Greg Bishop of The New York Times. Each Thursday the current Arizona coach provides a report basically identical to the NFL version, with players listed as probable, questionable, doubtful and out.

Rodriguez started this practice at Michigan, he said, to limit repetitive questions at his news conferences. When anyone asked about injuries, he told him or her to refer to the report.

“From a headache standpoint, it has been far easier,” he said.

"The NFL’s official injury report policy is as follows:“It is NFL policy that information on all injured players be supplied by clubs to the league office, the opposing team and local media each game week of the regular season and postseason (including for the two Super Bowl teams the week between the Championship Games and the Super Bowl). The information must be credible, accurate, and specific within the guidelines of the policy.“All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.“This policy is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the NFL.“The intent of the policy is to provide a full and complete rendering of player availability. The information must be reported in a satisfactory manner to all parties, i.e., the opposing team, local and national media, broadcast partners, etc., for dissemination to the public through the news media.“The weekly personnel/injury reports have been a cornerstone of the public’s confidence in the NFL for many decades. The credibility of the NFL, our teams, owners, and team personnel requires full compliance with these policies, which will be strictly enforced.” —courtesy dboclair@nashvillecitypaper.com"

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USA Today contributed to this chart

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