SBD/September 13, 2012/Media

USC Lifts Ban On L.A. Daily News Reporter Who Had Revealed Injury To Kicker

The L.A. Daily News' Scott Wolf last night indicated that he has been allowed to cover USC football practices again after initially being banned for two weeks by coach Lane Kiffin for disclosing injury information. Wolf wrote on his Twitter feed, "I am happy to say my football practice ban was lifted after talks with [USC AD] Pat Haden and area sports editors. Practice policy talks continue" (TWITTER.com, 9/12). L.A. Newspaper Group Sports Editor Gene Warnick yesterday said that USC had barred Wolf from practice and was not planning to "issue him a credential” for the USC-Cal game on Sept. 22. In L.A., Gary Klein noted Wolf on Sunday reported USC K Andre Heidari “had knee surgery last week and is expected to be sidelined for about three weeks” after not playing in last week's game against Syracuse. Kiffin “is not addressing injuries this season,” and USC in August announced “a policy barring the media from reporting strategy or injury-related news observed during in-season practices.” Klein notes the Daily News report “did not cite practice-related information.” Warnick said, "From our standpoint, Scott was doing his job. This wasn't something that was part of practice. We were just trying to report the news” (L.A. TIMES, 9/12). Meanwhile, ESPN L.A.'s Pedro Moura during yesterday's episode of "College Football Live" was asked about the injury status of USC C Khaled Holmes. He said, “I can’t tell you because Lane Kiffin’s new policy here at USC says that USC cannot detail anything that happens to players in terms of injuries. All we can say is what happened on the field and we can add no more detail to any given injury. That’s the way it is now.” After talking about whether Holmes' backup is likely to play this Saturday, ESPN’s Joe Tessitore said, “So you can tell me something, Pedro. We appreciate that. Pedro Moura, playing by Lane Kiffin’s rules” (“College Football Live,” ESPN, 9/12).

HUSHED HUSKIES: In Seattle, Bud Withers reported the Univ. of Washington yesterday "announced it was implementing the same policy" as USC regarding practice injury reports. The general standard had been for reporters "not to write about strategy maneuvers ... but that injury news is fair game." Withers: "Obviously, there's a massive gray area here. Coaches can't reasonably expect reporters not to write about injuries when they've kept a player from appearing in a game. So when it is OK? ... I think the policy is an entree for coaches to do what many of them are doing already: Closing practices to the media altogether" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 9/12). A UW spokesperson said that the injury policy "is the same at USC, Stanford, Oregon and Washington State." It also is known that UCLA coach Jim Mora "does not disclose injuries on his team" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/13).
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