USC football has suspended a reporter after taking issue with a story written about the program. News of the temporary ban is now circulating social media, with many believing the Trojans are overstepping their boundaries.
The Orange County Register reported on the two-week punishment, which the suspended party believes to be a “significant overreaction.”
Luca Evans of the OC Register wrote a story highlighting a new player’s impressive performance thus far in the season, while also noting his shyness before his first media appearance.
In that piece, Evans pulled bits from a brief conversation between the player and a teammate that came just before that media outing.
While nothing negative was said about the player or program, USC Director of Football Communications Katie Ryan said that the writer had “violated its policy prohibiting reporting on anything outside of media availabilities in the practice facility.”
Apparently, it’s not the first issue the program has taken with Evans.
Ryan reportedly had previous concerns with the writer, who’s in his first season on the USC beat, for asking questions to a player after a press conference and speaking with players and coaches in non-designated media areas on campus.
Evans’ employer has pushed back, asking that the suspension be removed. “USC is looking to kick him out of multiple games for a false start. We ask that this suspension be rescinded immediately,” the Southern California News Group said.
Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen responded by saying, “Our media policies exist to promote a culture of trust that is critical to building successful programs… USC supports the football program’s decision regarding Luca’s two-week suspension.”
Despite that reply, the SCNG calls the move an overreaction, and many around the college football world agree. Here were just a few of the reactions on social media.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. The writer shared a nice anecdote about a player asking for advice before his first media appearance… an egregious overreach.”
“Really ugly behavior by USC.”
“So *this* is the Lincoln Riley the Oklahoma media was warning us about.”
“The more these kinds of coaches just admit they would prefer reporters to act like state media, the easier this whole charade would be.”
“This is a bad look for USC. I get that Riley doesn’t want anything bad reported… but this is a bit excessive.”
The policies are in place to “protect the players,” according to Lincoln Riley, but he doesn’t have many on his side in this particular situation.
UPDATE: The suspension has been rescinded.
Riley released this statement on Thursday:
“Last night, I received a call from Luca Evans, and we had a very candid and productive conversation. We agreed that we both could have handled the situation differently. I appreciate Luca recognizing the policies we have in place to protect our student-athletes and acknowledging to adhere to those in the future. We welcome Luca back to practice and look forward to his continuing coverage of the Trojans.”