Say goodbye to Air Force Football coverage

By: Josh Earl
By: Josh Earl

If you take the human element out of sports, and have no personal connection to your team then what reason do you have to cheer for them? New coverage guidelines at the Air Force Academy may limit how we distribute information to our viewers.

Today I am going to start with a question: If you take the human element out of sports, and have no personal connection to your team then what reason do you have to cheer for them?

Forgive the tardiness of this blog, but being a sports reporter means taking your weekends in the middle of the work week. That being said, I returned from my very relaxing two days out of the office and was greeted with a truly unbelievable e-mail. It came from the Air Force Academy sports information office.

I will cut to the chase and post a short excerpt from this e-mail which details the guidelines of how our coverage of Air Force Football will be dictated to us.

"Air Force football practices: Air Force football practices at home are open to the public and media Mondays through Wednesday with the following guidelines: Those watching practice are not allowed to text message, blog or report (including injuries) on anything that happens during any weekday practices. Failure to follow this guideline will result in closing future practices."

First, the good news, practice is still open....for now. How long that will last remains to be seen and at this rate it would not be a surprise to see that change in the next year or two. Now the bad news. Any information you obtain and store in your brain by watching the practice is apparently owned by the Air Force Academy. Don't text message a buddy of yours who is a fellow Air Force fan, that a starter suffered a major injury and may be out for the season, or everybody gets kicked out. Your thoughts and your knowledge no longer belongs to you.

Now to what this means for your local newspaper, radio and television reporters. We will still have access to certain players on certain days during a very short time period dictated by the Academy. However it should be interesting to see what questions we will be allowed to ask. If we are not allowed to report on anything that happens during practice, that would mean we can't ask them about a certain position battle or how well they are picking up the offense.

I hope all of you out there in TV land are interested in finding out Tim Jefferson's favorite color, or what Asher Clark likes to eat for dessert. Without talking specifics of the weeks events, those are the kind of generic questions and answers you will get.

This isn't new and it certainly isn't limited to the Air Force Academy. There are many organizations out there that value their secrecy, but sports and reporting on sports go hand in hand, one can't survive without the other.

For example, if you are Broncos fan and you are limited to zero information about how thing are going throughout the week (who is injured, who is starting at quarterback, etc.), are you still going to be as excited to watch that team on Sunday? Reporting on sports allows you to learn about and get to know the players under the helmet. Which brings me back to my initial question; If you take the human element out of sports, and have no personal connection to your team then what reason do you have to cheer for them?

Coaches don't seem to understand that their teams don't belong to them, they belong to the fans. Without the fans the seats remain empty, the television camera's stay away and high paying coaching jobs go by the way of the dinosaur.

So we would like to apologize in advance for our coverage of Air Force Football this season, but as I've laid out, you can only do so much when you are blindfolded with both hands tied behind your back.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by DW Location: Colorado on Sep 25, 2009 at 09:49 PM
    Iliteism? Fragile emotional states? Josh, why don't you take some time to reply to the blogger named Don from COS. The football team does belong to the coach, the players and the Air Force Academy, and I'm quite sure they're putting all that hard work into their football program so they can give all you "fans" something to be proud of. That doesn't include revealing their intended game plan to anybody, including a sports reporter.
  • by AF football fan Location: New York on Sep 24, 2009 at 05:19 PM
    Josh, your comments read like you are not a fan of Air Force football. Why wouldn't you support the coach's wishes. He is preparing the team for their next opponent. Looking at it from your point of view, should the coach supply you with your own copy of the play book?
  • by Falcon fan Location: COS on Aug 12, 2009 at 08:59 PM
    I've been to every Air Force football practice and have yet to see Channel 11. I've seen the Gazette, Denver Post, Mountain West sports and even a few others, but I have not seen you guys. The Gazette seems to get plenty of stories about Air Force football. I guess I don't understand what your beef is with the new policy when you don't go to practice anyway. Coach Calhoun seems like a reasonable guy and, in reading Jake Schaller's blog, has even amended the policy to make it more media friendly. Why have I not seen you, or seen stories, about Air Force football.
  • by John Location: COS on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:29 AM
    Interesting, the Broncos have a kind of the same rules for training camp: Cell Phone Activity: Cell phone activity of any kind by fans is prohibited inside ticketed areas during training camp practices. This includes calls, text messaging and live blogging as well as transmissions to social networking sites (Twitter, MySpace, Facebook). Cell phone activity is allowed outside the field areas.
  • by J. Mendez Location: los Fresnos, TX. on Jul 30, 2009 at 04:06 AM
    Is this Congressperson Polis' Idea?
  • by j. Mendez Location: Los Fresnos, TX. on Jul 30, 2009 at 03:57 AM
    Continue your coverage, We saw AF football for the 1st time in Fort Worth's Armed Forces Bowl. Now we have a cadet there and plan to watch him soon. Keep up the Coverage, and post it up on the Web.
  • by Thomas Location: Brewster on Jul 23, 2009 at 09:23 PM
    I dont quite understand the need to put these restriction on the media and fans. What are we living in China?? I dont go claiming that the team belongs to me, but to know who is impressing coaches and working hard in camp/season, and the injuries and other changes are what I want to know about "my" team. That is why I follow "my" teams through thick and thin times. I am a fan that wants to feel the disappointment and excitment of "my" team. This is the plight of every fan no matter the sport, and themedia is our window.
  • by Don Location: COS on Jul 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM
    Josh, you nailed it. Eliteism is a bug the AFA doesn't need along with Swine Flu but they have it. You are right about the team doesn't belong to them but to the fans. If they are worried about the fragile emotional states of their cadets then maybe they should go to one of the Ivy league schools where they won't have to face the enemy after graduation. A few questions from the media will be milk toast compared to what a hostile interegator would give them.
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