Team beat writers are normally praised for digging up as much information as they can. Things are slightly different at USC.
The Trojans athletic department has banned Los Angeles Daily News reporter Scott Wolf for the next two weeks of practice and will not issue him a press credential for the Sept. 22 game against Cal after Wolf reported on a knee injury sustained by USC kicker Andre Heidari in the team’s season opener against Hawaii.
USC’s policy is that the media cannot report on strategy or injury-related news observed during in-season practices.
Wrote Wolf in a story over the weekend, which did not appear to violate the policy:
USC kicker Andre Heidari underwent surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and will be sidelined about three weeks.
Heidari suffered the injury in the season opener against Hawaii and did not accompany USC to its game against Syracuse on Saturday. Walk-on Alex Wood filled in for Heidari and kicked six extra points.
Wolf’s sports editor, Gene Warnick, told Larry Brown Sports’ Steve DelVecchio that he and other Daily News editors plan on meeting with USC athletic director Pat Haden to appeal the decision.
Said Warnick: “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.”
USC’s “don’t ask about injuries” policy is common in college football, as Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen demonstrated in early August. But prohibiting articles written about them? Even Bill Belichick would likely think that’s a “one step too far” move.