IU Insider Blog: Should Practices be Open?

Practices should be open to the media. There, I said it. Now, I have to get over it. Because it's not going to happen at Indiana this fall. It's just not the way Kevin Wilson does business. As long as we get ample access that's the most important thing.

Practices should be open to the media. There, I said it. Now, I have to get over it.

Because it's not going to happen at Indiana this fall. It's just not the way Kevin Wilson does business. A few days a week he allows media to watch the first 25 minutes or so and there will be times during camp when he may allow us to see an entire session or two. Often times scrimmages when the season gets closer are open and by then the players are a little more polished.

But when IU holds its first practice on Friday, two days after the freshmen report on Wednesday and all other players on Thursday, they will be preparing for the season without any media onlookers.

I've always been told that the average person could care less whether the media attends practice or not. While that may be true, it should be understood that the media advantage to being there is simply that you have a better feel for how certain players are progressing or not progressing. It just gives you a better chance to be able to answer questions that are posed from readers or folks on the premium boards.

Because see practices are closed to the public, too. The days of people sitting up on the hill behind the north side of Memorial Stadium and looking down on the practice fields with their binoculars have come and gone.

So instead, the media is left to rely on what you're told both by the coaches and the players. There's nothing wrong with that except seeing it with your own eyes allows you to gather those opinions on your own.

I understand in the Social Media age that coaches are worried about things going out on Twitter or on Message Boards regarding certain plays, alignments or injuries. The way most places that have open practices handle that though is to not permit reporters to put out any information during practice or from writing or broadcasting certain content even after the practice has ended. Some won't let reporters even take notepads to practice.

Now, I've always thought there was a flip side to attending practice, though, too. Bottom line: You have to attend practice. College football practices aren't the most exciting activity to witness. Perhaps for the first couple you attend each year but before long you find yourself staring at your shoes and your watch/cell phone a lot wondering how close they are to being finished. So with that in mind, I don't want to push this too far.

The important thing, in my opinion, is that media members have ample opportunities to interview players after practices. And this happens at Indiana. We generally get access to players at least three times per week during camp. If you know you're going to go a few days without getting access you simply stockpile as many interviews as you can together and run them over a period of a few days.

Our first chance to talk to players and coaches in this camp is Friday after the first practice day. After that, IU will host its annual Media Day on Monday, Aug. 5. Next week we have a couple of other days where we get access. And again, that's the most important thing. And Indiana's media relations department does a nice job giving us access to all the players we request. As long as that's the case, I really don't have a beef.

Some kind of compromise would be nice. Say, getting to see one complete practice every week. But as I see it, no one consulted me when they put together their practice schedule and I'm guessing no one is asking me now. Hopefully, there will be plenty of opportunities to talk to enough players so that we can feed your appetite for Indiana football throughout this preseason camp.

My guess is that will be the case.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch.


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