I've always been somewhat skeptical as to how big an advantage it is to keep injury and suspension news a secret. If a player's presence materially changes the scheme, I can see how not divulging status could be useful. If we're talking about the difference between a pocket or mobile quarterback, or about a dominant defensive lineman who requires double teams but whose backup does not, then yeah, it makes a big difference. For regular rotation guys, even the good ones, it probably isn't as big a deal because the backup will be playing the exact same role.
I bring the issue up because Mark Richt is refusing to say whether Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree are suspended or not for the big game at Missouri this weekend. He thinks it could make a difference:
"Oh I don't know. I'd just assume not give them all of our business," Richt said. "But if there is any uncertainty at all, just like any kind of personnel on either side of the ball, if we're not sure about if this guy is playing or is that guy playing, it's just one more thing on gameday that you have to make certain your players understand who is in the game. So it could be helpful."
Not surprisingly, Gary Pinkel is downplaying the impact of not knowing those players' statuses for the game:
"You prepare for the scheme. Obviously I don't know if they are going to be back or not," Pinkel said, according to the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune. "We can't worry about that. We have enough things to be concerned about that we have control over. If they play, they play. I don't know what else to tell you."
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham brought up a good point after practice yesterday, which is that the SEC doesn't have disclosure rules. It's entirely up to the schools themselves to divulge whatever they do or don't want public. The NFL has rules about it, and the NFL vet Grantham says that it keeps everyone on a level playing field. His attitude at UGA, however, is to go for full secrecy. If there is any kind of advantage to keeping injuries and suspensions in house, then he wants to have it. He sees no reason to give up information when his opponents don't have to do likewise.
So the question I ask y'all is this: should the SEC have rules regarding disclosure of injuries and suspensions?
I can see this one both ways. On the one hand, these are not professional players. Their precise health (regarding injuries) and dirty laundry (regarding suspensions) isn't necessarily our business. At the same time, saying whether a player will or won't play and nothing more isn't a particularly big breach of privacy given that everyone will know that piece of information by the end of the game. We as fans also give lots and lots of money to these programs, and for that, we have some kind of claim to knowing what to expect.
Where it gets a bit messy is that an SEC rule only extends to the SEC. If LSU has to give every player's status for a game, that doesn't mean that Washington has to do so as well. Would it make sense to have the rule only apply in weeks leading up to in-conference games? Or would the league leadership make the coaches upset by forcing them to give up the information regardless?
I'm in favor of requiring disclosure because it's another way of keeping coaches honest. What say you?