The Chancellor recently released a UCLA 2013-14 Year in Review message. The message was 19 paragraphs long. There was much praiseworthy news, as would be expected from our weekly Achilles updates.
It took Block until paragraph 12 to get to UCLA athletics, which sounds about right in terms of his priorities. Here are the topics in the 1st 11 paragraphs- UCLA alum wins Nobel Prize in medicine, money, money, money, money, money, UCLA Volunteer Day, UCLA services for veterans, UCLA K-12 school, faculty awards, special mention of medical school faculty.
Finally, before we get to the current status of the Bilkmore Arms on-campus hotel, we get two paragraphs on athletics. First, recognition from Block that we won titles 110 (women's soccer over Florida State) and 111 (women's tennis over North Carolina).
And then this astounding news.
Gene Block is a member of the NCAA Executive Committee, representing the Pac-12 and (hopefully) UCLA. There are 19 members, so this is not ultra-exclusive. But it is surprising that any conference, let alone the Pac-12, would entrust conveyance of their interests to a know-nothing like Block, is amazing. Block's term runs through August 2016.
I would imagine that Block had never heard of Ed O'Bannon before Block arrived on campus, and probably had not heard much about him since. But now as a member of the Executive Committee, he undoubtedly knows O'Bannon, not as the heart and soul of our storied 1995 championship team, but as the lead plaintiff in the suit against the NCAA.
Chancellor Block is also a member of the Division 1 Board of Directors, which includes one representative from 18 conferences. So Block is expected to carry the torch for the Pac-12 with the other D-1 conferences. This would appear to be another instance of a big load on narrow shoulders.
I can't imagine what the other Pac-12 schools were thinking when they put Block up as their advocate for intercollegiate athletics. It may just be coincidence that the two states with legal pot are both in Pac-12 territory. Then again...