As his first season winds down, USC basketball coach Frank Martin is starting to understand just how tough his job in Columbia is. Martin’s task goes well beyond just the lack of talent on his bench, and he has spent a lot of time talking about changing the culture of losing on and off the court at USC.
Martin addressed this culture change again at his press conference Wednesday. “It’s the alumni base, it’s the fans, we got to change all of that,” he said. “That’s not going to change overnight. “
Then Martin turned his attention to the media:
“I will tell you one thing that made me feel good after the game the other day: we had several of you guys that cover our team at the game. You think I’m joking, I mean that seriously. At K-State after every game we played I had my whole contingent of beat writers at the game. Win or lose as you guys know I addressed the media. Here I haven’t felt that. We gotta change that. That has to change. We can’t travel and have the people that cover our team not covering our team. …That sense of apathy of ‘who cares?’- that has to change and that has to change across the board with everybody, not just the players.”
I hear ya, Frank. I couldn’t agree more. But you are barking up the wrong tree here. We would love to have you come on SportsTalk to promote your team to a statewide audience, but we can’t because USC doesn’t allow it. We would like to play more of your epic press conferences too, but we can’t because USC doesn’t allow it. We would like to travel to more of your games, but as you know, the economy is tight and it is hard to justify the expense of a road game if we can only run 3:00 minutes of it or risk getting our credentials pulled.
And we aren’t the only ones that would provide more coverage. There are several other outlets that have tried to do more, only to be told by USC to stop.
It’s not Frank Martin’s fault, but the USC administration has decided Gamecock athletics need only to be promoted on one radio station in one market. That’s great promotion for that station, but it doesn’t really do much in terms of getting your message out beyond it.
So Frank, you are on your own. It’s not that the media doesn’t want to cover you, it’s the fact that your bosses don’t want us to. That’s not only USC’s culture, it is their written policy.
Good luck changing their minds.