Jackson State prevents USA TODAY Network reporter from covering Deion Sanders program on SWAC briefing day

A Clarion Ledger reporter was banned from covering Jackson’s soccer team at Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day on Tuesday, a day after his story was leveled against domestic violence against the highest-ranking high school students in program history.

Rashad Milligan has been barred by two JSU officials from covering coach Deion Sanders’ schedule in Birmingham, Alabama.

Saunders did not want to be interviewed by Milligan JSU players and coaches, said JSU’s director of internal football operations, LaToya Williams.

The incident came a day after Milligan told a court on July 1 that Quaydarius Davis, an incoming four-star receiver from Dallas, was expected to plead guilty to “assault causing bodily harm to domestic violence” in Texas. , which came from an incident in March.

Davis’ attorney, Henry Campbell, told Clarion Ledger after the story was published that the player had no plans to plead guilty. Clarion Ledger tried to contact Campbell several times before the story was published.

Clarion Ledger is part of the USA TODAY network.

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“A Clarion Ledger journalist was punished for simply doing his job,” said Clarion Ledger executive editor Marlon A. Walker. “The decision to intervene with a working journalist is not only disappointing but also unacceptable.

“In contrast to Clarion Ledger’s unwavering mission to keep readers free and fully informed throughout Mississippi. It is imperative that we stand firm against any attempt to disrupt this effort.”

Milligan has not been banned from covering future events, a university spokesman said on Tuesday. Asked to comment on the incident, the spokesman said:

“Two Clarion Ledger journalists were certified for SWAC Media Days, these credentials were not revoked and SWAC also said they were not revoked. I am not a secret to any journalist being excluded or banned. Rashad Milligan has not been banned from covering Jackson State.

“We have no further comments at this time.”

The comments come after Milligan, who has worked for Clarion Ledger since November 2019, told sports spokesman Dennis Driscoll that publishing Davis’ story could lead to the removal of access.

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Following the release of the story, Milligan was informed by JSU Sports Director Ashley Robinson that the story was inaccurate and that Milligan would be better off covering Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State at SWAC Media Day.

As Milligan began writing for SWAC Media Day, Williams and Driscoll told him he could not interview JSU players and coaches.

As Milligan waited to interview Senter Saunders, a prophesied pioneer, and his son Dion Saunders, Drescol told him, “Sorry, you will not be able to speak today.”

When Milligan said he intended to listen to and record the interviews, Williams told him he would not be allowed because of Davis’ story.

Williams said the interviews would not begin in Milligan’s presence, according to Langston-Newman writer and photographer Eric Shelton, who both attended.

Attempts to reach Driscoll and Robinson were unsuccessful on Tuesday afternoon. Clarion Ledger also requested a statement from the conference.

Davis, who joined JSU on July 6, is the No. 1 141 prospect in the country for the 2021 class, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking.

The case was reopened in court on Tuesday. No new court date has been set.

Jackson State, a public university, is subject to open file laws and is bound by the first amendment that guarantees freedom of the press.

While it is common for college sports programs to restrict some access – such as health records or even the ability to follow an entire practice – it is unusual for a journalist to be banned from accredited media events.

JSU describes its guidelines for maintaining credentials on its website.

Chris Thomas is the Sports Director of the South Region of the USA Today Network. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bychristhomas.

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