We'll say this really simply and in the most basic terms we can use. (Warning: inside media baseballfootball whatever.)
Lane Kiffin suspended reporter Scott Wolf of the Daily News from covering USC for two weeks, which is honest dickery. Like Steve Spurrier refusing to do a press conference while Ron Morris of The State was sitting in the room last season, it is a spiteful thing done honestly. Half-credit awarded all around for being upfront about it.
It's a small note, but this week we were turned down for credentials at Tennessee, a familiar, warm sensation confirming everything we want to believe about the world. Credentials for someone who writes about college football like we do--writing around it, and over and under it, but rarely through it--are a special luxury. They aren't necessary, but they are nice when you can get them. Having the scene after the scene everyone else sees is a bonus, and can add a whole lot else you wouldn't see otherwise. In the end, we know as well as anyone how this goes: getting that will be hit or miss for anyone but the biggest, most obvious online media types, and harder still the further down you go in size.*
That said, we really don't need them. Reporters do, however, and that flow of information is either being cut off entirely, warped by the imposition of the teams, or being done by the programs themselves in some cases. We won't pretend for one second the reporting of news from a football program is comparable to something like the homicide beat or national security. It isn't, and never will be. But it's a tiny trend, and an ugly one across the board--especially when it comes to online outlets that do reportage and are denied coverage while a small daily of 4,000 people gets waved in handily.*
*Not talking about us, or even our employers, but others.
It is news that has to be verified, though, and if programs want to start dictating that access based not even on the online/offline distinction, but on what they want you to report or not report? Then reporters are way closer to hanging out with us at the tailgates than they might think, with only the sleepy, compliant hands of the Soddy-Daisy Crumpeter left twiddling in the press box to tap out precisely what the coaches say on their iPad.*
*Soddy-Daisy is hyphenated. Its paper is not the Crumpeter, though why a paper doesn't have this delicious name we will never know.