UPDATED: 7 p.m. WEDNESDAY
Scott Wolf tweeted out recently from @InsideUSC == I am happy to say my football practice ban was lifted after talks with Pat Haden and area sports editors. Practice policy talks continue … I want to thank everyone (journalists, fans friends) for their messages of support today
The Original Blog post:
What could backfire on Lane Kiffin must be good enough for his former Trojans coaching mate Steve Sarkisian.
As Kiffin, head coach of USC’s football program, continues to refuse to give injury updates on his team — and has made good on a threat to ban reporters from reporting them by misguidedly punishing Daily News reporter Scott Wolf this week — Sarkisian, the head coach at the University of Washington, laid down a similar edict today.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reported today (linked here that the media, as well as “all visitors,” are, in the words of the university, “hereforth prohibited from reporting on strategy or injury-related news observed during practices. No players or coaches will have any comments on injuries and any such information.”
Sarkisian added that he wasn’t going to “comment on injuries anymore. I’m not. No one in our organization is. It’s just a competitive disadvantage for us when other teams don’t and we do, so that’s going to be the road we take.”
They did not issue any ultimatums to media members that did report on injuries, but you can assume it’s likely to be what USC and Kiffin are doing in making an example out of Wolf, who did not report on an injury witnessed at practice.
A Washington spokesman said this policy is the same at USC, Stanford, Oregon and Washington State. It is known that UCLA coach Jim Mora also does not disclose injuries on his team.
The backlash to the Wolf banning comes via Twitter, many of them from reporters who also cover USC:
Michael Lev at the Orange County Register: Last yr Kiffin gave basic INJ report: Out, limited or full practice. We asked for same + suggested no elaboration/follow-up. We were denied.
Bruce Feldman at CBSSports.com: Not sure banning media from practice is hot idea. Can end w/ them digging for stories more troubling than inj reports
Gary Klein at the L.A. Times: Kiffin/Sarkisian were assistants for USC teams that had pretty successful run under Carroll, who had no draconian policy re injury reports.
Stewart Mandel from SI.com: Coaches don’t have to tell reporters anything. That’s their right. But to punish someone for reporting something that’s true? Not cool.
Also from Mandel: Dear Kiffin + Sarkisian: Nick Saban gives reporters detailed injury report. Ala doesnt seem to suffer competitive disadvantage
Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports: If other LA media report USC kicker’s injury, do they get banned too? No one in press box. USC cannot afford the bad publicity.
Richard Deitsch at SI.com: Banning reporters only ends up producing bad PR. An adult at USC needs to end this nonsense.
Art Spander: I guess Lane Kiffin learned something from Al Davis: How to threaten the writers
Marc Isenberg: @DufresneLATimes With you 100%. Used to be NCAA wanted to injuries disclosed to “protect the integrity of the game.”
More from Isenberg: Fav line re media from Fred Claire (fmr adjunct @ Annenberg, where I heard this line!!): “Don’t argue w ppl who buy ink by the barrel.”
Chris Dufresne at the L.A. Times: USC also has the right to close practice and put barbed wire around field. Bill Snyder did this at K-State years ago! Come on, SC.
Also from Dufrense: I will boycott USC football on Sept. 22 by HAVING DirectTV…..!
Chris Mannix at SI.com: All LA media should boycott Trojans’ next home game.
Kevin Modesti at the Daily News: Disagree. Others should keep trying to inform public, as Scott does.
Ryan Abraham at insidetroy: I can tell you this, way more people know about Andre Heidari’s surgery now than right after Wolf reported it.
Scott Enyeart: I’ll say this about the new media policies at USC and UW: Pete had practices open for 9 years, was never a “competitive disadvantage”
Jay Posner at the San Diego Union Tribune: We learned this from years of problems with Chargers & closed practices: We think fans care about this, but sadly, they don’t.
Adds Modesti: True, it won’t turn USC fans against Trojans. But for others, might it contribute to an unflattering image of USC?