The USC Trojans football program came under intense scrutiny earlier this week. News emerged early in the week that the team suspended local beat reporter Luca Evans of the Orange County Register from reporting on the team. A few days later, the Trojans walked that suspension back.
Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press was among several who received a statement from USC head coach Lincoln Riley. The statement read:
“Last night, I Received a call from Luca Evans, and we had a very candid and productive conversation. We agreed that we both could have handled the situation differently. I appreciate Luca recognizing the policies we have in place to protect our student-athletes and acknowledging to adhere to those in the future.
“We welcome Luca back to practice and look forward to his continuing coverage of the Trojans,” the statement closed.
From USC coach Lincoln Riley … pic.twitter.com/viBBrssdCx
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) September 21, 2023
Evans also published a statement on his personal account on X. The statement read:
“Last night, I had a long conversation with Lincoln Riley sharing our perspectives on the events that led to USC suspending my access.
“Riley made it clear his intent to protect his players. I made it clear my intent has always been to tell compelling, honest stories on USC — I respect and understand the program’s outlined policies regarding media access, and any missteps came through intent of doing my job and pursuing relationship-building and storytelling.
“I will continue the same reporting and writing with fairness, accuracy and depth, and we reached an agreement to lift the restriction on access.”
An update on the situation with USC access: pic.twitter.com/ju4Wkb24hI
— Luca Evans (@bylucaevans) September 21, 2023
USC’s rescinding of the suspension ends a brief but tumultuous clash between the media and the football program. The suspension came after Evans published an article on freshman running back Quinten Joyner. However, the suspension caused a significant uproar from the media, especially around LA. Longtime Los Angeles Times writer Bill Plaschke recently put the torch to Riley and the Trojans. Questions over who controls the message at Southern Cal emerged and stayed thick before this decision was made Thursday.