New practice compliance policy marks new era of USC basketball

There were no ESPN cameras or jam-packed crowds inside the Galen Center Friday afternoon when the USC men’s basketball team officially began practices for its upcoming, sanction-free season.

Midnight Madness took a back seat to a much calmer, serene setting as the Trojans took the court for the first official time since their 2010 campaign concluded prematurely at end of Pac-10 play.

The reason: a newly instituted practice admittance policy conjured up by the university and its Office of Compliance.

As the program tries to turn a corner from a year which was marred by self-imposed sanctions, the new regulations serve as a reminder to the media, scouts, family, friends and anyone in between, that USC under the direction of Athletic Director Pat Haden will be far more vigilant in upholding the NCAA’s compliance policies.

Under the new policy, practices shall be strictly limited to the men’s basketball team student-athletes and coaching staff, necessary athletic department personnel and guests pre-approved by the Vice President or Associate Vice President of Athletic Compliance.

Media, immediate family members of student-athletes (including parents, legal guardians, grandparents, siblings, spouses and children of student-athletes), spouse and children of basketball staff members, USC Executive Employees and their escorted pre-approved guests, and other pre-approved guests may attend practice by requesting and receiving permission to do so from the Office of Athletic Compliance at least 48 hours in advance of a practice.

In addition to these strict guidelines, the new policy much like one enforced for football practices at the Howard Jones field, requires admitted guests to sign a Practice Court Admission Form before entering a team practice for the first time.

Fans and students will get to the see the team uninhibited from the stringency of the new terms of admission on Oct. 23 when the new-look Trojans hold their annual Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage at 12:30 p.m. inside the Galen Center.