When Pete Carroll got to USC, life at Troy was very much no holds barred. Alumni roamed the sidelines, media had a ton of access and practices were open to the masses, with athletic department assistants even handing out rosters to fans as they entered Howard Jones Field.
Now, under sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush case, it’s a drastically different world. The public is prohibited from stepping on the premises of the football facility, and USC has limited media access more and more over the last few years.
In 2012, then-head coach Lane Kiffin opted to put a muzzle on the media in terms of injury reporting, a strategic tactic that he borrowed from both Washington’s Steve Sarkisian and Oregon’s Chip Kelly. In 2013, Kiffin took further measures, shutting out the media entirely, save for post-practice press conferences.
Under Kiffin, players were assigned different days of media availability, depending on their unit. Offensive players had one day, while defensive players had another. Furthermore, the postgame locker room was off-limits.
Now, with Sarkisian being the ultimate successor to Kiffin, expect there to be much of the same, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS.
Existing NCAA sanctions will keep USC from going back to old days of full media openness (think open lockerroom) per Steve Sarksian.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 20, 2014
Back in December at his introductory press conference, Sarkisian told the media that he wouldn’t prevent them from doing their jobs and appeared to be on board with at least partially open practices, in terms of media participation. He specifically told reporters to write what they see.
It’ll be interesting to see how the media guidelines change at all from the Kiffin days, following a free and open half season under Ed Orgeron.
Spring practice begins on March 11th at Howard Jones Field, with expected limited public access from next door at Dedeaux Field.