Washington will not open football practices to the public this fall, citing the ongoing renovation of Husky Stadium as the reason.
After previously saying it hoped and anticipated opening practices to the public once again, they won’t. Here’s how the school officially phrased it:
“Due to the continuing construction project at Husky Stadium and the space and safety issues that come along with it, the UW football program will not be able to open any fall camp practices to the public in the fall of 2013.”
Washington says “certain” practices in spring of 2014 and the following fall will be open to the public.
Per usual, newcomers to the team will not be available to speak with the media during the fall. Injuries also will not be discussed.
In addition, practices are no longer fully open to the media. Just the first 20 minutes of practices Monday-Wednesday will be open during the second part of fall camp and on game weeks throughout the season. This is essentially a stretching and warmup period where little or no team activity will take place.
Several schools in the conference close practice to the media. However, the rub here for Washington is two-fold:
First, access to the team is strikingly similar to what it was when Tyrone Willingham and his buttoned-down approach oversaw Washington football.
Second, these policies come as Steve Sarkisian enters his fifth season as head coach after touting openness when he first arrived. Each year, media access has receded.
When first hired and asked why he re-opened practices to fans and media, Sarkisian said, “I don’t have a whole lot to hide.”
Sarkisian also repeatedly said that having open practices provided the players a benefit by forcing them to “perform” in front of a crowd.
Now, he’s decided to close practice down to almost all outsiders.