More to the media than meets the eye

first_imgYou might not agree with what appears in the paper today, but at least you have the opportunity to read it.That’s more than the students at some schools can say. At Texas A&M University-Commerce two weeks ago, a group of football players stole every copy of the campus newspaper because it contained a front-page story detailing the arrest of two of their players. Last week, Texas A&M-Commerce coach Guy Morriss came under fire for calling the players’ act “the best team-building exercise we had ever done.” When asked if he had seen the edition of The East Texan in question, Morriss said “I don’t read that crap.”Morriss gave a half-hearted apology this week, saying that his remarks were meant to be humorous and not to be taken seriously. This would usually be the end of the story, but as a fellow journalist, something about this got under my skin.Since when is it OK to endorse activity that warrants police investigation so long as you lazily retract it later?If you haven’t heard, it’s hard out here for a sports writer. Working for a newspaper, even if it’s only a college newspaper, is a daily test of faith. It’s hard enough to put out a product every day without worrying about it being taken.Writing unpopular stories always results in an uproar. But it appears the only objection Morriss and his players had to this story was that word of the arrests was printed at all.I wish I could say this was the only case of a football coach being unreasonable toward a campus news outlet, but there are probably more instances than could fit in this column. Last season, Montana coach Bobby Hauck belittled and froze out reporters from the school newspaper after it printed a story on two football players who allegedly committed assault.Hauck could have acted like an adult and articulated whatever his objections were, but instead he chose the petulant route and went into lockdown mode.All of the effort that goes into putting campus newspapers in their place is enough to make you wonder why any of the coaches care so much.I understand the dilemma for coaches in such matters. Most in Division I revenue sports are accustomed to a high level of control, but they wield almost none when it comes to dealing with the media.Of course, coaches have every right to object if they feel like any part of their program, especially the players, has been put in an unfair light because of factual errors or biased reporting. But this requires a dialogue, not temper tantrums like the ones seen at Texas A&M-Commerce and Montana. Maybe next time coaches like Hauck will try holding their breath until they get what they want.When players and coaches are upset with what appears in the newspaper only because they are ashamed of their actions, they have no one to blame but themselves. And instead of viewing the media as the enemy for reporting on their miscues, college coaches and athletes should think about how to foster a positive relationship with news outlets.Little of this, however, is applicable here at USC. You might be able to run and hide in Montana and East Texas, but there are few spots of refuge from media in Los Angeles. That’s not to say the school is always totally forthcoming or all its coaches embrace the media, but stunts like the ones Morriss and Hauck pulled won’t work here.If they ever want to learn how to operate on the same level as USC, then bully coaches like Morriss and Hauck should look to this school and other major universities to see how top programs deal with the media.Despite their lack of people skills, Morriss and Hauck have found at least some modicum of success as coaches — Texas A&M-Commerce finished 5-5 last year, and Hauck translated another successful year with Montana into the head coaching job at UNLV. It’s clear that both have solid football minds.But imagine how much better they would be if they didn’t care what was printed about them.“Tackling Dummy” runs Thursdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Michael at middlehu@usc.edu.last_img read more

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Extra Innings: Too many athletes are transferring out of USC

first_imgFor most players, the reasoning behind this wave of potential transfers is not clear. When McCoy decided to transfer, I wrote in a previous column, “Five-star receivers want to go to a university to do a few things: win football games, get better under great coaches and get noticed by professional scouts. Right now, USC offers only one of those three things and it isn’t the first two.” In this week’s installment of “What the Hell is Happening to USC Athletics?”: the transfer portal. This week, almost half of USC’s women’s basketball team entered the transfer portal. Six of the 13-person roster are at least considering — if not set on — leaving Galen Center. Granted, there are two graduate transfers in that group of players, but a daunting statistic nonetheless. USC Athletics needs to make some serious changes soon to retain players. For players to leave USC at such a rapid rate from multiple sports is not a good look for recruits of any sport. After all, when the players leave, the recruits stop coming. I’m not going to pretend I follow collegiate basketball. However, I do know that the women considering jumping ship are some of USC’s best ballers. But this issue isn’t unique to women’s basketball. Rather, it is evidence of a larger issue that has been perpetuated over the past year. Student-athletes keep transferring out of USC. Some of the most notable are redshirt junior receivers Velus Jones Jr. and Trevon Sidney. Jones posted a solid 10.4 yards per reception in 2018. He was a fantastic addition to USC’s receiving core last year. Sidney, on the other hand, didn’t have a whole lot of targets but showed great potential. It’s also important to note that Sidney was left off the spring roster. Jones is listed. Under offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s air-raid offense, both receivers have the potential to be key players for USC next season, if they decide to stay. Those two potential transfers are just drops of water in the ocean of players that continue to enter the transfer portal. For most in the portal, their intentions are not clear. Perhaps, they are just keeping their options open this spring. center_img Some of my past thoughts hold validity. At least USC has an offensive coordinator now, but if I had to assume the reasoning behind this ordeal, players are unhappier with the athletic department than they are concerned with winning. Considering either the coaching staff or the administration, can you blame them? It’s a mess, and there is a whole lot to be upset about right now. Senior guard Minyon Moore, one of the graduate transfers who announced she will be transferring, led the Trojans in points, free throws, rebounds, assists and steals this past season. Senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley also plans to transfer. She posted the second most blocks and rebounds during the 2018-19 season. How could anyone forget about one of the most interesting and jaw-dropping transfers of this spring? Incoming receiver Bru McCoy enrolled at USC early. It seemed like he was all in, ready to join receiving leaders senior Michael Pittman Jr. and sophomore Amon-Ra St. Brown to terrorize secondaries. Then, out of nowhere, he entered the transfer portal and became a Texas Longhorn just days later. You don’t need to look far to see that this is a major problem with USC football. News of players transferring has been dominating the USC football headlines for the past several months. But some might argue that players transfer all the time. However, a significant portion of the players entering the portal aren’t third string; they are the starters and the impact players USC needs. Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays.last_img read more

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