Dear Chancellor Block: my two cents to the head honcho

Chancellor Block,

Please consider that UCLA is not only an academic institution, but a once-hugely successful athletic department. I used to work for the athletic training department, and used to be proud of UCLA's athletics, especially our non-revenue sports which used to be the prowess of our athletic department. If you have not noticed over the course of Dan Guerrero's tenure at UCLA, there has been a marked decline in the amount of conference and national championships. From averaging around 3.5 championships a year , we have now dropped to a pathetic 1.2 (if even, and this season doesn't look good at all).

Our once-proud women's soccer team embarrassed us this season at home, and has yet to produce a win over Stanford in the past couple years, succumbing frequently to USC as well. Our Track and Field teams have done nothing of note since 2004 (as the MPSF is NOT the PAC-12), and the men's cross-country and track and field teams have been perennially flailed. Men's Water Polo has had a National Championship drought like no other school in the MPSF that has a national championship - 3 of the top 4 men's water polo teams have fully cycled through the national championships, but the 4th, UCLA, has yet to win one in 7 years. Even with the retirement of the Greatest Volleyball Coach of All Time at the culmination of the 2011-2012 season, the coaching search hasn't even begun in earnest for the most decorated volleyball school in the nation, and continue the unparalleled legacy of Coach Al Scates. Drake Stadium is one of the most decrepit Track venues in the entire PAC-12, if not the entire West Coast, and looks worse than my high school track, which was renovated 15 years ago. Yes we got a new throws cage in 2007. That's it. Marshall Field is destroyed throughout the track and field seasons, making for shoddy and dangerous conditions for soccer players, and its location keeps the fans further away from the gameplay than most soccer facilities in the nation. Bringing in temporary bleachers for games is another sign the facility is lacking appeal to recruits. Getting to Jackie Robinson Stadium is still a nightmare for students that do not have cars, and barely any effort has been made to remedy this. Yes, understandably the Spieker Aquatics Center is an awe-inspiring facility, but how long did it take, and how much goading from the Spieker Family did it take to actually give the perennially top-5 teams a facility worth playing at? At least the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA is a great facility, although this is probably due to the tremendous efforts of Bob Kramer and Billy Martin in running the Los Angeles stop on the ATP Tour, and the hugely successful tennis camps during the summer seasons. The renovation of Pauley Pavilion - home of the most championship-decorated teams in the nation has been shoddily handled at best. Having a corporate sponsorship rename the most historic home of collegiate basketball and volleyball due to lacking of fundraising efforts is unforgivable. The alternate venues for home games have the feeling of away games entrenched in a failing venue deep in enemy territory. Disappointing at the best for a die-hard Bruins fan.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and the first team I EVER rooted for was the "team wearing blue." It just so happened that this team was UCLA, playing USC in the 1986 Freeway Series in the Rose Bowl. We won that year. I live in Boston right now and am earning my doctorate working with one of the best Physical Therapy programs in the nation, and have no problem telling the Boston Bruins fans here that the UCLA Bruins are the original and the best. I know my acceptance into this Physical Therapy program had a GREAT deal to do with the quality of education I received from UCLA. Having gone to UCLA, and having worked intimately with the athletes and rest of the student body in ORL, USAC, ISU, Pediatric AIDS Coalition, SAA, Clothesline Project, Queer Alliance, OCHC, PRB, and Research opportunities throughout my 5 years at UCLA, I can truly appreciate the diversity and quality of the entire UCLA experience. As an alumnus, I have regrettably watched the regression of ALL our athletic facilities (except Jackie Robinson, and the useless renovation in 2006-7 of the Pauley Lockerrooms) and the majority of our athletics teams, and an extreme downturn in our recruitment and retention of quality athletes. I understand that a great deal of UCLA's worldwide recognition is its great research and academic facilities, but the UCLA brand extends (and should extend) beyond the scope of academia. We purport our status as the #1 NCAA Division Team Athletics Program in the nation, but Stanford and USC are right on our proverbial tail, and WILL surpass us in this continuing era of ineptitude.

Considering I graduated in 2007 from UCLA, my relative youth, and that I have not started working in my career field yet, I consider myself to be a rather generous donor to the UCLA Fund and the John Wooden Athletic Fund. I am writing this letter to you now to let you know that I will hereby cease ALL donations to UCLA, whether it be to the institution as a whole in the UCLA Fund, the Wooden Athletic Fund, or the Men's Volleyball team - which I will have you know is my favorite sports team in the entire world, and has been since I was in 7th grade (10 years before I graduated from UCLA!!!), until there is a SIGNIFICANT regime change in the Athletic Department that ensures Dan Guerrero will no longer control the UCLA Athletic Department, or make any sort of decision that will impact the school. Dan Guerrero has been the George W. Bush of athletic directors, taking an amazing and successful program into a debt-overwhelmed, under-financed, over-spending joke of an athletic department that claims #1 worldwide status, yet is completely unable to prove it in the competitions we engage in. The fact that NO coach wants to our football team given the respect that position lacks and the decrepit nature of our practice and game facilities (that was distinctly mentioned by the previous two head coaches) should be a CLEAR and definitive referendum on the department Dan Guerrero (failingly) heads. I will no longer support an institution that accepts failure. The fact that our academia can still be wildly successful in the face of ridiculous state funding cuts should be evident that despite the lessening levels of funding, despite the limited resources, with the RIGHT people, the UCLA Brand can be preserved for all times as the premier academic and athletic institution of the world. Some in the capital funding departments will scoff at this as an easy way out, or a cut-your-losses situation, but I can tell you right now, I will be tearing up any fundraising letter without so much as reading it until Dan Guerrero is removed from the UCLA community and a competent, dynamic, altruistic, and visionary AD can be installed and put us once again on the path to excellence in both the athletic and academic realms. I hope you understand the embarrassment the entire UCLA Alumni Community feels watching games on tv, which will only become worse given the heightened exposure to the national spotlight we will receive with the new PAC-12 TV Contracts. Be proactive, and please consider this a chance to reinvigorate the entire alumni and student base, as well of the faculty and staff and student-athletes that should be proud of working at a premier institution. Thank you for reading this.


David Anthony Paul Therrattil

<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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