USC Football: LATimes Will No Longer Attend USC Or UCLA Practice


July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; University of Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley talks to the media at PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

After a wave of issues stemming from new practice policies and some interesting behavior from the head coaches,the LATimes has elected to refrain from covering both USC and UCLA practice.

Chris Foster of the LATimes, UCLA’s beat writer, posted this tweet early Tuesday morning about the situation:

This policy stems from both USC and UCLA choosing to no longer disclose injury information, which has landed a few LA journalists in hot water. One journalist from LA Daily News was banned and then subsequently unbanned from practice and the Cal game, after he wrote a story about kicker Andre Heidari’s knee injury. Just last week, Kiffin again caused a minor Twitter storm when he left the post-practice media scrum after literally one question, which loosely pertained to the status of an injured player.

The LATimes‘ decision comes on the heels of the LA print media electing to stay outside of USC’s Tuesday practice. Writers from the OC Register, LA Daily News, and the Times all stood outside the gates of Howard Jones field, and reported on what they could see from their vantage point.

Michael Lev, a writer for the Register, tweeted Wednesday morning that the logic behind this is that, “It compromises journalistic integrity to see news but not report it.” So now, if they report on what they see from outside Howard Jones, they are not out of the boundaries set before them by USC’s SID.

On the UCLA front, Jim Mora stirred the pot more on Wednesday when he tossed a camera crew (which is believed to have been ESPN) and ripped his own SID for their “incompetence” in allowing camera crews in places on the field where they should not have been:

USC and UCLA are inching slowly but surely to having completely closed practices, mirroring the strategy of Oregon’s Chip Kelly. Prior to recent history, the Trojans and Bruins had some of the most open practice policies, including an open locker room policy for media after games.

The other print media outlets have yet to take the path of the LATimes, but if these two athletic programs continue to strangle the access of the media, it won’t be long before they do.