"Athletic Directors," a UCLA-centered Web reality series, focuses on a bacchanal "Chianti" Dan Guerrero a la "The Hangover": Amorous, unsightly-looking people hook up amid wild parties, run-ins with the law and booze. Lots and lots of it.
These scenes could be captured on any Friday night at almost any university. But for many students, athletes, and alumni at the University of California, Los Angeles, the show that debuted Thursday was a real buzz kill.
"I can't help but laugh and be disgusted at the same time," said Ellis McCarthy, an incoming five-star high school football recruit from Monrovia. "It's irresponsible."
The Web series was produced by actor and perennial student James Franco and follows a wolf pack of UCLA athletic department corps d'elite through the travails of off-campus life. The show depicts an "AD bucket list" that includes Guerrero painting his body in Trojan colors and going to a football game at Memorial Coliseum, chasing (away) coaches and recruits and, in one scene, chugging 1947 Château Cheval Blanc from a bottle.
It also includes grainy, night-vision shots of police shutting down Morgan Center parties. This is all happening at an athletic department that for years has failed to move away from a perception of being the so-called "University of Constantly Lackluster Athletics" — a culture centered around encouraging competitive mediocrity on the playing field and luxury fundraisers where wealthy administrators lead a pampered existence.
By many measures, the school has undergone a notable shift, with an investment to attract stronger faculty, more research dollars, and a medical center that serves as the face of the university, according to UCLA chancellor Gene Block.
So a show centered on Guerrero's high jinks has rankled some on campus.
Valorie Kondos Field, head gymnastics coach, found the idea of the show irritating and potentially detrimental to the reputation of the school and, in turn, her team.
"It so demonstrates the failures the school has experienced in revenue sports," said Field. "It's not the school it was in the '60s and ‘70s, when Coach Wooden was winning national titles year in and year out."
(The entire post is parody. All source attributions are fictional. Full credit to the LA Times for reporting the original story on USC undergraduates.)