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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
Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Canzano: Ex-University of Oregon defensive coordinator says USC is "playing soft"
» Recruiting 101: Explaining redshirts and grayshirts
» Ohio State fan who rushed field and was body-slammed by coach loses scholarship

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)
» OSU men's basketball: Tinkle says positive steps being made
» Spencer to become new AD at Evansville
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford's Shaw shoots down interest in Raiders job
» Stanford beats Washington with fourth-quarter touchdown
» Matchup: No. 16 Stanford at Washington
» Stanford facing must-win game at Washington's noisy Husky Stadium

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» 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
» Pac-12 Media Day: Eyes on Anthony Barr for UCLA's 2013 hopes

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 rallying around Cyler Miles after offensive struggles
» Washington volleyball team sends USC packing in straight sets
» Washington baseball will host 28 games in 2015
» Washington football: A progress report after five games

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Offensive line backups impress
» Now that was a playoff game
» WSU football live chat
» Morning links and a live chat to come

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