This morning, I opened my email to find a message from the Wooden Athletic Fund asking for a donation. Even though I graduated in 2010, this is the first time any department has directly called or (e)mailed me asking for donations (other than during graduation itself). I decided to write the following letter, which I will be mailing tomorrow morning.
Today, I received an email with an invitation to donate to the Wooden Athletic Fund. As a proud Bruin alumnus who counts his experiences with UCLA athletics as a key part of his UCLA experience, I am more than happy to donate to the continued excellence that is UCLA athletics. Included with this letter is a check for $3,500 – a “Bruin All-American”-level donation. Furthermore, I pledge to renew this donation yearly, with the promise that it will grow as my means grow. For a recent graduate still paying off student loans, this is no small donation; but again, UCLA athletics is important to me, and I will do what I can to ensure its continued excellence.
You will notice, however, that this check has been voided. The reason for this is simple – the actions of the UCLA athletic department this year have been anything but excellent. There has been undeniable, and completely justified, frustration and outrage from the Bruin community in regards to:
- the handling of the Pauley Pavilion renovation, and the student seating situation,
- silence when our Women’s Basketball team was unfairly seeded in the postseason tournament,
- the implosion of our Men’s Basketball program,
- a wildly inconsistent football season that demanded, but did not receive, immediate action,
- and the resulting travesty of a search for a new football coach, widely panned by mainstream and Bruin-centric media for both the process itself and the resulting hire.
None of these situations promote UCLA athletic excellence, and none can be pointed to as “honoring the lasting educational and athletic legacy of Nell and John Wooden.” Many Bruin fans have called and written to say that they will cease all donations to UCLA until a change is made. I, however, am taking it one step further.
Starting January 1st, 2012, my proposed $3,500 annual donation will decrease by $25 for every day that Athletic Director Dan Guerrero remains employed by the University. If and when he is relieved of his duties, I will immediately write a check for the remaining amount, and my yearly contribution will grow from that base amount. On May 20th, 2012, if Dan Guerrero remains employed by the university, this donation will hit $0, and I will never donate a single penny to the UCLA Athletic Department.
The actions of the UCLA Athletic Department (or, lack thereof) have ramifications not just in the immediate future, but for the life of all UCLA athletic programs. Bruin fans demand and deserve excellence in all aspects of athletics. It is time that the UCLA Athletic Department learned this.
I hope to contribute to the success of UCLA athletics for a long, long time. Do right by all Bruins fans, and prove to us that you are equally committed to that success.
UCLA, Class of 2010
I also plan to send a version of this letter to Chancellor Block, and one to Guerrero himself, calling for his resignation.