College football coaches in Los Angeles have no plans to make friends with the media this year.
Less than a week after USC coach Lane Kiffin held the shortest press conference of the season, UCLA coach Jim Mora decided to kick everyone out of his Wednesday practice because of issues with camera crews wandering into restricted areas.
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Not only did Mora usher media out of practice, UCLA sports media staff also were given the boot. Mora locked the gates to the field. According to a report in the L.A. Times, late-arriving players — linebacker Dalton Hilliard, receiver Jerry Rice Jr. and receiver Darius Bell — all had to wait for the gate to be unlocked before they could join the rest of their teammates.
The relationship between UCLA, USC and the media have soured so much this season that the L.A. Times has decided not to cover practices anymore. According to Michael Lev, USC beat writer for the Orange County Register, his paper has adopted the same policy.
"Idea is that it compromises journalistic integrity to see news but not report it," Lev wrote on Twitter. He said his paper is still interviewing players and coaches after practice.
Animosity between Los Angeles media and its college teams started earlier this month when USC banned L.A. Daily News reporter Scott Wolf from practice and a game after he reported about an injury, which was against media policy. The ban was rescinded, but the hard feelings remained. A week later, Kiffin walked out of a media session after a question about an injury irked him.
Mora has had similar issues with media about injury questions.
Seems like this is an issue about not wanting to be bullied by Kiffin or Mora and about the media's right to report the news. It's not necessarily changing the coverage — they weren't allowed to report that much for what they saw in practice anyway — but it does give the media an out if they hear about something at practice and then report it and it shows that they won't be a punching bag for either program.
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