Lane Kiffin closes USC regular season practices to media

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Southern California's football program has traditionally opened practices to media, but coach Lane Kiffin has decided to put an end to that tradition this season.

Practices still will be open during training camp and spring practice, but for the first time in quite a while the Trojans' regular-season practices will be closed to the media.

"We've decided to finally follow the majority of all teams in college football and close our practices to the media during the season," Kiffin said on Monday.

As Kiffin mentioned, most programs are not as media-friendly as USC was -- particularly under former coach Pete Carroll, who even allowed fans to attend practice. The Trojans will not shut out the media entirely, as players and coaches will be made available after regular-season practices.

The relationship between USC and the local media was rocky, at best, in 2012.

First, Kiffin changed the practice policy by declining to discuss injuries during availability and prohibiting reporters from writing about injuries that occurred during practice. Then in September, the Trojans head coach barred a reporter from practice for reporting that kicker Andre Heidari had undergone knee surgery. It was later pointed out that the reporter did not violate the Trojans' updated policy and the ban was lifted.

After the incident, the Los Angeles Times and other outlets decided not to send reporters to practice.

Kiffin's conflict with the media added to the turmoil that accompanied a disappointing 2012 season. After starting the year as the preseason No. 1 team in the country, the Trojans dropped four of their final five regular season games and lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Trojans athletic director Pat Haden issued a video statement prior to Pac-12 Media Days to show the school's support of Lane Kiffin, specifically mentioning that he is not on the "hot seat." The Trojans were picked third in the Pac-12 South in the preseason balloting at Pac-12 Media Days, earning only four first-place votes. UCLA, the Pac-12 runner-up a year ago, earned 12 first-place votes and Arizona State finished second with ten first-place votes.

 
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