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“The media here has been great partners in my two years here, have enjoyed working with the media thoroughly,” he said. “I don’t feel like we have too many rules, too many policies. But the ones that we do have, we take them serious, because my first job is not, even though it is part of my job, it’s not to the media, it’s not to the fans, it’s not to anybody else. It’s to protecting our players. That is first and foremost, that will always be priority No. 1.”
The reporter in question is Orange County Register and Southern California News Group beat writer Luca Evans.
The Orange County Register explained that USC director of football communications Katie Ryan said Riley was upset with a story published Thursday that included reference to a conversation between teammates and freshmen Quinten Joyner and Braylan Shelby.
While the conversation did not seem to reveal any insider information and was instead about Shelby offering advice to Joyner for talking to the media, USC argued that it violated its policy preventing reporters from writing about things outside of scheduled media availability times in the practice facility.
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Ryan also previously raised concerns about Evans for talking to players and coaches in areas that were not designated as media availability areas and asking a question after a press conference ended.
The Southern California News Group sent a letter to Riley, athletic director Jennifer Cohen and USC president Carol Folt expressing its disagreement with the decision and asking for the suspension to be lifted.
USC declined to end the suspension.
Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports noted this isn’t a first for Riley, who canceled media availability in 2021 when he was the head coach at Oklahoma. He was upset that student journalists reported what they saw regarding the quarterback position when they watched practice from a building across the street.
As for Evans, the Orange County Register said he will continue to write about the team even though his access was suspended through Sept. 28.