Ohio State won't be providing injury updates

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State coach Ryan Day won't address injuries during the season on the recommendation of the team’s medical staff and school administrators. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

In a radio interview two days before Ohio State’s high-stakes game at Penn State early last season, then-coach Urban Meyer revealed some significant news:

Nick Bosa, the star defensive end for the Buckeyes, had undergone surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

He would not play against the Nittany Lions and ended up missing the rest of the season.

Similar announcements about a player’s injury are unlikely to be made this fall.

A school spokesman said Tuesday that first-year coach Ryan Day would not address injuries during the season, which begins Saturday against Florida Atlantic, following the recommendation of the team’s medical staff.

“We just had discussions with the administration, with the medical staff and sat down and made the decision that was the best moving forward,” Day said.

Unlike in most professional sports leagues, no rules mandate college football teams to report the injuries of their players.

Last year, the Big Ten proposed the possibility of standardized injury reports across the sport, but the NCAA Board of Governors determined earlier this month that was “not a viable option at this time.”

The possibility had seen heightened interest amid legalized sports gambling in the U.S.

As a sort of compromise measure, Ohio State plans to release a “status update” one day before each game.

The report was to list players as either available or unavailable to play, but not provide details surrounding a possible injury or disciplinary action.

Athletic director Gene Smith told The Dispatch that he supports the new policy.

“I think we were too loose with what we said about kids,” Smith said. “If a kid is not available, it's not for us to say why. We really shouldn't unless the kid says it's OK to say why, and I'm not going to sit down and say, 'Sign this form so we can tell them that you have a busted fibula.'"

The earliest instance of a player in question this season is Jonathon Cooper, the senior defensive end and one of seven team captains.

Cooper has been hampered by an undisclosed ailment in preseason practices, and it is unknown if he will be ready to play in the opener.

Defensive tackle Robert Landers mentioned Tuesday that he hoped Cooper would “be back soon,” but otherwise spoke as if he could remain sidelined in the coming days.

Coordinator arrangements

Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison, the new co-defensive coordinators, will be stationed at different posts during games.

While Mattison will be on the sideline, Hafley will be in the booth.

“You got such a good view on everything,” Hafley said. “It’s slower. The emotions are out of it. The crowd is out of it. It’s kind of like slow motion, and you can see a lot. I feel very comfortable up there.”

Hafley, who is also the secondary coach, had been on the sideline last season when he was in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, but in the booth while with the Cleveland Browns during his previous stop.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will be in the booth, where he is to be joined by Mike Yurcich, the new quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.

Day remains the primary offensive play-caller.

Crowd prep

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin planned to pipe in crowd noise during his team’s practices this week in preparation for the visit to Ohio Stadium.

Otherwise, there were few options left to prepare for one of the larger crowds in college football. Kiffin was mostly glad it wasn’t a prime-time game.

“Your hope is that, with an early kickoff, it isn’t as loud as a night game,” Kiffin said. “Hopefully, they’ll arrive a little late and be nice to us.”

Dispatch columnist Rob Oller contributed to this story.


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