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WEEKEND OUTLOOK: College football needs an official injury policy

Matt_ExaminingSports

Controversy is nothing new for the Southern California football program.

USC, which was banned from the postseason the last two years after the Reggie Bush scandal, is used to being in the spotlight. The Trojans made news again this week by barring Los Angeles Daily News reporter Scott Wolf from covering practices and the team’s next home game after Wolf wrote in his paper about an injury to the Trojans’ Andre Heidari.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin does not talk with the press about injuries to his players and the team has a policy requesting the media to not report on injuries that are witnessed in practice.

Heidari, the Trojans’ kicker, was injured in the team’s opener against Hawaii. However, his status was never addressed by Kiffin. Wolf reported last weekend that Heidari will be out for about three weeks after having surgery.

That report prompted Kiffin and USC athletic director Pat Haden to ban Wolf from covering USC practices for two weeks and also for the Trojans’ game against California on Sept. 22.

After reconsidering at the request of Daily News sports editor Gene Warnick, Haden lifted the ban earlier this week.

However, this brings to light the need for the NCAA to adopt an official injury policy for Division I football. At the present, coaches are not required to disclose injuries. Many coaches, including Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, do update the local press on injuries and the status of injured players.

Others, like Kiffin, believe that providing information on injuries gives the opponent an advantage. I can understand both points. That is why the NCAA needs to institute an policy that is uniform across college football. It is not fair to the coaches who do provide injury updates while some opposing coaches refuse to discuss their injured players. The NFL has had an injury reporting policy in place since 1947 and the NCAA needs to follow suit.

Now on to this week’s football picks:

Bellefontaine over Ben Logan

Benjamin Logan has suddenly grabbed control of this rivalry series with back-to-back wins. Prior to the Raiders’ victory in 2010, it had been 28 years since Ben Logan had a win over Bellefontaine on the gridiron.

I anticipate another close game tonight. Beating Bellefontaine three straight times would be a major achievement for the Raiders, but I don’t see the Chiefs letting that happen. Bellefontaine 21, Ben Logan 20.

WL-Salem over Southeastern

Southeastern has been a tricky opponent for the Tigers over the last few years. The Trojans came up just two points shy of knocking off the Tigers last season.

With the close call last year, the Trojans have WL-Salem’s full attention. WL-Salem 28, Southeastern 14.

Tippecanoe over Indian Lake

The Lakers surely have a bitter taste in their mouths after two straight losses in which they saw the lead slip away late in the game.

The going does not get any easier this week as the Lakers have to go on the road to face an unbeaten Red Devils team. Tippecanoe 34, Indian Lake 28.

Triad over SCC

Triad has bounced back from its season-opening loss to Indian Lake with two dominating victories. The Cardinals will keep rolling tonight against a rebuilding SCC team. Triad 41, SCC 20.

Fairbanks over Ridgemont

I hate to pick against the Gophers because they deserve a lot of credit for their 3-0 start, but the level of competition gets much tougher this week.

Fairbanks is off to an 0-3 start, but the Panthers have played three tough opponents and are a better team than their record indicates. Fairbanks 27, Ridgemont 19.

Around the horn

Ohio State cages the Cal Bears, 31-10 ... Michigan State handles the Irish, 24-14 ... Tennessee cuts down the Gators, 28-21 ... The Bengals claw past the Browns, 24-21.

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