The media scrum after Wednesday’s practice began on a good note, with Kiffin praising the crispness of the Trojan offense. It quickly took a dive though when a reporter asked about an injured player, to which Kiffin responded “I don’t know”, before saying “I gotta go” and jogging off the field.
The scrum lasted all of 28 seconds before Kiffin left the media on Howard Jones field, perplexed. The change in his facial experience made it clear that he was not pleased with the only question that was asked of him.
A week ago, an LA media member was briefly banned from practice for reporting on Andre Heidari’s knee surgery, but was quickly reinstated after a storm of negative publicity brought on by the media taking to Twitter.
In late August, USC released a statement saying that the media would no longer be allowed to report on player injuries, and Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone gave the reason that it “could put USC at a competitive disadvantage to opponents.”
In the days before USC could only have 75 athletes on scholarship, Kiffin had no issue disclosing situations involving injured players. Now that this is the Trojans’ reality though, USC naturally is inclined to want to keep injury information under wraps.
In the wake of today’s incident, another firestorm of controversy came about on Twitter, with people discussing the perceived immaturity of Kiffin’s actions, and the decision of a reporter to ask a question that has been impermissible for going on a month now.
Whether the media will be allowed to continue attending practice, or if Kiffin will take a page out of Chip Kelly’s book and hold closed practices from now on, has yet to be determined.