Brown Closes Workouts Following Shipley Incident

Citing a concern for student and family privacy, Texas football officials elected Friday to close to fans and media all but one remaining preseason football practice. The decision resulted from what head coach Mack Brown believed was premature reporting of FL Jordan Shipley's hamstring injury during Thursday night's practice.

"Yesterday when Jordan Shipley went down, members of the media during practice put it on the internet before we had an opportunity to talk to the parents," Brown said, "and that's just not right. That really concerns us. We asked some of the different media if that was something that they would continue to do, and they said 'yes.' It's part of what they have to do. It's part of trying to report the news and we understand that. We're not saying that it's wrong at all; we are saying that it's unfair for us to have a young man get hurt and his parents read it on the internet, or maybe see it on TV, before we can get to them."

Closed practices will take effect Saturday, August 13. The exception will be Fan Appreciation Day, set for Saturday, August 20, which begins with a 9 a.m. scrimmage at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Brown also cited a concern that opposing teams might benefit from bootlegged practice footage.

"Now, with the ability to video with a cell phone, and I didn't realize until yesterday that they can take a cell phone, video parts of practice and put it on the internet immediately," Brown said. "They can ship it anywhere in the league. We've got 10,000 active OU boosters here. And there's no telling how many Aggies. What we decided this morning is that, obviously, the times have changed. Media information gets out so much faster and fan information gets out so much quicker than ever before. There's really no way to have security any more. You can get the snap counts on the cell phones. That's not been an issue before but, there's no question, snap counts are huge. With your cell phone, you can start filming your signal callers. It's a different world. And I see people with notepads now coming to practice. It's just different."

Longhorn football practices, during the season, have been closed for several years. All workouts were open to fans and media just two seasons ago.

"Just about everybody else has closed practice," Brown said. "We're one of the few left that does not and we're probably wrong to keep it open. We feel like it's not in the best interest of our players' privacy or our team."

Friday's workout was open to fans and media. There were 123 spectators, according to UT Men's Athletics Official Bill Little. A UT security officer evicted a male spectator for videotaping midway through the session.

Saturday's sessions has been rescheduled for 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the UT Final Exams schedule.


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