Southern clarifies media policy

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern University Jaguars defensive back Kevin King (15) leads his teammates onto the field Saturday at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern University Jaguars defensive back Kevin King (15) leads his teammates onto the field Saturday at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

Southern University football coach Dawson Odums has decided only three players will be made available to the media until at least Oct. 5.

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.

“That’s something we’ve got to live with,” Southern Athletic Director William Broussard said Thursday. “That’s the consequences we’ll take.”

Last week, Southern linebacker Anthony Balancier was quoted by WAFB-TV, Ch. 9, as saying Northwestern State was “horrible.” Northwestern State players and coaches acknowledged they used that statement as motivation while blasting Southern 55-14 in Natchitoches on Saturday.

Given that the team is 0-2 and entering a crucial stretch to start Southwestern Athletic Conference play, beginning with a home opener against Prairie View on Saturday, Southern subsequently reduced access to its players to all media and suspended Balancier for the first quarter of the Prairie View game Saturday night.

Southern coaches were disappointed that a senior and a team captain would say something derogatory about an opponent and were frustrated that the comment may have affected how the team played at Northwestern State, Broussard said.

To that end, Odums wants his team to concentrate more on improving as a football team than on any media obligations, Broussard said.

“This is not going to be something permanent,” Broussard said. “This really, truly is an identity crisis we need to solve.”

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.