FanPost

Shame On You Dan Guerrero

(Bumped.  As we enter a crucial week for our school's two major programs, with Football Signing Day on Wednesday, and basketball against *$c on Wednesday night and the Lizard on Saturday, this post on the culture surrounding U.C.L.A. athletics is more pertinent than ever.  This week will go a long way towards showing whether football and basketball can rise above the administrative apathy that seems to hamstring those programs right now, or whether they will continue their descent into medocrity and irrelevance - gb)

{I initially wrote this as a comment in the thread "The UCLA 'Culture" Straight From DG's Mouth". I didn't hit the post button because it grew too long and turned into a rant. This morning, in another thread, I called DG out. I would have left it at that until I read the portion of Shelburne's interview on our front page. I got pissed off and this is the result. No facts, just rant. Want data, do not read any further. Want fair and balanced -- this ain't it.}

These are hard times for the state. Money is tight. And, even though the revenue sports programs pay for themselves and other sports programs, it's not clear that what's holding us back is simply a matter of economics. I think the problems are deeper. And, I think the black hole is in the AD's domain.

How can I say that?

Yes, we may be short of money and trying to run things on the cheap. As discouraging as this is, and it is discouraging, we still are not getting what we are paying for.

There are coaches out there who make less than we pay and put competitive, proud, intense and fundamentally competent teams on the field or court -- and we've lost to them. Their players are less heralded, their facilities are not as good, their campuses are less attractive, their media markets are smaller, and their pay scales are lower -- and we've lost to them.

I am not saying that we should not be getting more from our administration -- but I am saying that we are not using what we are getting well. And, that's on DG.

And, he is failing, elsewhere, too.

DG is the CEO; he  and his staff are failing. It's their job to get the money needed to run a modern program AND to make sure the money being spent is used in a productive way. We have watched the clusterfuck of the football program's post season. We've watched the clusterfuck of media relations. We've watched the clusterfuck of facility improvements. That's on DG and his administrators.

And, from Shelbourne, we learn that what's holding us back are "unique aspects" of our culture. A culture that must be challenged.

There comes a point for all of us where if we are being held back -- kept from doing the job the way it should be done -- that we step up and speak up -- we speak truth to power, even if it means we might lose our jobs. 

CRN -- if you are being blocked by DG, step up.

DG -- if you are being blocked by the Chancellor, step up.

Donors and alums, if you are not satisfied with the state of Bruin sports, step up.

What bothers me most about the state of our program is that our leaders seem to be inert. They seem to accept the current state of affairs, label it the "unique aspects of our culture" and simply leave it unchallenged.

There has been some strong writing on BN about the "culture" that is holding back our athletic programs.

I've not commented on it, until today. Why? Because, I really thought that DG was fighting a battle against that culture, behind the scenes and that certainly, with the help of all of us, students and alum's, he would win that battle. For, in the long run, the success of the revenue programs is essential to our ability to field the diverse sports teams that have made us the most successful program in the country and enriched the lives of our university community.

And, then I read the Shelburne interview and realized that DG is not waging a battle against the culture -- he is a participant in it. As we used to say, way back in my day "If you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem". DG, you acceptance of this culture -- your hiring of people like CRN because they understand the "unique aspect of our culture", is part of the problem.

Racism has been  a unique aspect of our culture. Sexism has been a unique aspect of our culture. Violence has been a unique aspect of our culture. Oh, OK, guess we have to live with them because they are unique and a part of us. 

It may take time to change a culture, and these issues are far more important than who is coaching our teams BUT challenging and knocking down barriers is also a unique aspect of our culture -- in all phases of our lives.

If we don't learn to challenge the simple things like an administration that cannot manage an athletic program that is an integral part of student life, how can we expect our students to challenge the more important and difficult issues in life?

And, if those in charge of teaching and setting examples set examples of complacency and call for the "understanding and acceptance" of the unacceptable -- part of the mission of our great university is failing. 

My university has taken on great challenges like academic freedom, civil rights and equality. Challenged the unacceptable. In areas of real threat and danger.

Yet, we cannot challenge something as risk free as the priority given to athletics in a modern university? I'm not saying we deserve more. But, I'm saying we deserve a dialogue, we deserve accountability, we deserve seriousness of purpose and mission. And, we are not getting it.

So, twice in the same day I have to say "Shame on you Dan Guerrero". Shame on you for your failure to lead. Shame on you for your failure to challenge. Shame on you for your failure to take a stand -- on this very simple "cultural"issue.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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