Notre Dame football practice coverage restricted

ND Insider Staff Report
ND Insider

CULVER, Ind. — Prior to Saturday’s practice at Culver Academies, Notre Dame provided a list of guidelines for media covering Irish football this preseason.

The rules for reporting on practices — some of which are new with others being reinforced — included:

• No references to plays run or game strategy. This includes describing formation, personnel groups or non-conventional plays.

• No reporting of which players are practicing with individual units (goal line offense, nickel defense, etc.).

• May note which players are practicing as well as those who are not.

• May include non-strategy and non-game plan observations.

• Do not report on practice injuries until the team has provided an official update. Access to Brian Kelly [provided] following practice for comments and injury updates.

• Do not quote, paraphrase or report comments made by coaches or players during practice sessions.

The guidelines also included rules for shooting video of practices. Most notably: “Multiple players, formations, trick plays and other strategic elements should not be shot, shown or described on any platform.”

Saturday’s practice was the second of five practices reporters have been granted access to during the preseason. Five practice sessions have been scheduled as open to media the previous two seasons as well. In-season practices are closed to media.

The updated rules will not apply to the scrimmage in Notre Dame Stadium on Aug. 20, which is open to the public.

Following Tuesday’s practice, the first of the preseason for Notre Dame, the Tribune published practice reports that included details that fall under the previously mentioned categories. The Tribune is currently working on ways to handle the restrictions while best serving our readers.

For instance, detailing observations from practice related to the pecking order of the depth chart or which players have been used in different schemes may be prohibited. When an extra defensive back takes the field in a dime package, it shouldn't be noted without confirmation from a coach after practice. Notre Dame, as usual, will release its own depth chart throughout the season.

Practice access varies widely across college football. In July, LSU announced all training camp practices would be closed to media. But reporters are scheduled to have brief viewing windows during the season. On the other hand, USC announced it will continue to allow media to attend all of its preseason practices.

When a Tribune reporter posted on Twitter a photo of the rules handed out before practice, reporters from all over the country chimed in, and it quickly became a national conversation. Sports Illustrated published a summary of the rules on its website, and the topic was discussed on a national ESPN radio broadcast.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, right, looks on as players run blocking drills during the first day of fall camp for Notre Dame Football Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, at Culver Academies in Culver, Ind. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN