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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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USC bars reporter guilty of... reporting

Reporters will go a long way to get a story. Ethically, we can't misrepresent ourselves, we can't walk through it. But if, for example, a door to a closed practice happens to be open, we'll look through it. And if, as another example, if a chain link fence has a hole in it, we might crawl through it. And if a rule has a loophole in it, we might jump through it.

The general rule of thumb is to keep going until someone tells you no. In sports, this especially true as athletic programs have become more and more protective of athletes and strategy information. Sports information offices have a lot of rules, and we usually abide by them to maintain good working relations. But sometimes you need to work around them, in the interest of news. After all, they are the universities' rules not ours. We are always weighing the public interest, and will generally pursue news past any barrier and won't be deterred by efforts to hide newsworthy information.

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All of which brings us to Scott Wolf, the Los Angeles Daily News reporter who covers USC and whose work we have linked to before. He has been banned from USC practices for two weeks and the Trojans' Sept. 22 game against California. He looked through no door, crawled through no fence, leapt through no loophole. He didn't even break any superficial rules.

He reported. [Full disclosure, the Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles News Group are members of the MediaNews Group, which also owns The Tribune.]

According a report in the Los Angeles Times, Wolf reported that USC kicker Andre Heidari had surgery last week and will be sidelined for about three weeks. This is sensitive but mundane news, as any sports fan knows. Like Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, USC's Lane Kiffin is not addressing injuries this season. But the Trojans have taken it a step further to a policy that will prevent a veteran reporter from covering this team. Earlier this summer, USC announced that reporters would be barred for reporting strategy or injury-related news that they observed during practice.

Universities are often concerned about injury information, and The Tribune has had disagreements with Utah over photographing injured players. But this move by USC is draconian.

Wolf's report did not include any practice-related information. He did not have to bend any ethical rules and it does not appear he even violated the university's policy to get the story. Of course, this tale has the irony of unintended consequences. Now, because of a ghastly overreaction by USC, if he wants to break any news in the next two weeks, he will have to.

— Bill Oram

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» UA football: QB Patterson decommits from Arizona
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Tucson's streetcar leads to soccer
» UA football: 3-star lineman commits to Cats
» Future Cat Roth sets HS steeplechase record

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Why is Sendek watching film of VCU, Louisville?
» ASU adds linebacker from Purdue
» Randall expected to compete for All-Pac-12 honors
» Marcus Ball replaces Alden Darby at bandit safety

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh Jennings wins World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Internazionale Milan scores 3-2 shootout victory over Real Madrid
» Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches final of World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour hired as Penn State AD

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Changes in college football a cause of excitement and concern
» Pac-12 media days: Colorado eager to turn things around
» Colorado's MacIntyre at Pac-12 media days: "We will be improved"
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: league "well positioned" for playoffs

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» NCAA head-injury settlement: What it means, who is covered and what's next
» NCAA settles head-injury lawsuit that will change 'college sports forever'
» Terry Baker, Robin Reed and more in Oregon's Greatest Athlete Round of 32 Day 2 (vote)
» Ducks lose key staffer; Is Oregon's Devon Allen too fast? The Oregonian's sports top 10

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director
» Oregon State hands out Bennys to top athletes, coaches and teams
» OSU fishing: MacDonald, Martinez win conference tournament

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Local sports digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh captures World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Local digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh Jennings wins World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches final of World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Stanford's Carol Zhao advances in Bank of the West tennis qualifying

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» Huskies fall camp position preview: Defensive line
» Jermaine Haley commits to Washington
» Monday's Northwest Collegiate Summer League games
» Zach LaVine puts on dunking display at Seattle Pro Am

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Depth gives Indians an edge
» Fast forward: Arizona
» Is the M's season slipping away?
» Indians improve to 5-2 against Vancouver



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