This story comes as a stark contrast to the kerfluffle earlier this week involving Steve Spurrier and The State in South Carolina. The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is scaling back their coverage of Southern University football after the team restricted the paper's access to the team's players following a story last week in which linebacker Anthony Balancier called opponent Northwestern State "horrible." Southern lost the game 55-14, and the quote was a main reason given by Northwestern State for the beatdown.
As a result, the team decided to limit access to players, giving the media access to just three players per week until October 5th. The Advocate initially said that they'd provide "minimal" coverage to the team, but eventually dialed back their comments.
In an earlier story, The Advocate said that policy would cause the newspaper to give “minimal” coverage to Southern football. The story should have said that Southern’s decision will limit the ability of The Advocate to provide much of its standard coverage.
It would have been nice to see the paper stick to their guns and keep the coverage of Southern football scaled back while the media restrictions were in place, but instead, they've essentially changed their tone to "we can't provide coverage without player interviews."
The Advocate traditionally has player feature stories that run in the print edition on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and has an opponent feature story that runs on Fridays. In addition, there are “sidebars” to the main game story which run on Sundays. Those stories rely on player interviews.
If this situation happened with LSU and not Southern, I highly doubt that The Advocate would be taking this stance. On the other hand, it's a little silly for Southern to restrict media access to their players because one made a flippant comment. At least the paper didn't totally surrender to the football program like we saw in South Carolina.
[The Advocate via Deadspin]
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