I was asked to FanPost this by several people after posting it yesterday after reading about our recent suspensions.
I’ll wait and see the who’s, what’s and why’s and how CRN responds to whatever developes. I’d like to take the time to vent about what I see wrong with the UCLA Football program.
The problem predates CRN. I don’t remember any player suspensions during the Donahue era. I do recall a player who was on the UCLA football team who was accused of murder and subsequent information came out that he was illiterate and how did he gain admission to our fine school.
Things seemed to get out of hand during Toledo’s regime. We had the handicap parking scandal, a QB with a string of DUI’s and a running back with a new car he didn’t pay for. Toledo was mainly let go because we thought the program was getting out of hand even though Toledo racked up a significant amount of wins.
We got a new AD and like the new sheriff in town he wanted to clean up Dodge. A new football coach was brought in and the program was cleaned up. Unfortunately, we didn’t win football games and out went the coach.
I’ve had an on going discussion about UCLA football with my son who is a sports writer for MaxPrepSports.com and who was the prep sports editor for the Oakland Tribune. He keeps telling me that high school athletes have changed over the last ten years.
Previously, an athlete would parlay his talents into a college education. If he was drafted by the Pros then that was an extra. Today kids come to college majoring in Pro football and basketball.
They arrive on campus with a secret plan to turn pro and all they want to do is show case their talents to the scouts in the stands. If they play on a winning team all the more pub they receive and the higher their draft status. These kids aren’t looking to get a college education that will be useful in later life or when they blowout their knee.
Last year for example ,we lost a running back because he wasn’t getting PT and he went elsewhere to showcase his talent. When you have a group of Prima Donnas with individual agendas, it’s hard to build a winning atmosphere.
College football changed with the advent of the BCS. The goal of most college programs use to be to win your conference and play in a Bowl game. For a Pac-10 team it was the Rose Bowl. Other teams the Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl. That was the highlight of your season. The national champion was crowned by pollsters and while people weren't happy, that's how it was!
Now we have the BCS and conference realignment and super conferences etc and it's killing college athletics. Colleges suffer and college athletes play the game and either take money under the table or leave early to cash in on the $$$$$ being thrown around. Programs invest time, energy and money developing players. A player leaves early and torpedos a program. One-and-dones and football players leaving early have killed programs.
I say a student leaving early should be required to repay his scholarship. Give him 5 years after leaving to pay back his education. I had to pay back my student loans for college and grad school, why not an athlete who leaves for the pros?
UCLA needs to get back to the values, attitudes and mindset that made us the greatest college athletic program in the country. It’s not about how many 5 star, 4 star players we can recruit. It’s about character and hard work. Rick knows this. He was a walk on and busted his ass to make it to the starting line up and win a Rose Bowl. I applaud him for disciplining players when they have broken the rules. CRN gets UCLA Football. CRN sells UCLA football.
I am proud as hell to say I am a lifetime Alumni of one of the greatest universities in the world. I wear those four letters with pride. I’ve seen the dark side. I was a member of their faculty. I heard their President tell the faculty how their school was funded and how important football wins and NC’s were to maintaining their financial structure. That’s why I proudly donate to the UCLA Fund.
I would just like us to win a decent amount of football games each season, go to a bowl game and maybe compete for a NC. But I want to do it with a clean program and with athletes that represent those four letters with pride, like I do!