Just when everyone here was "moving on" from the stinging end to men's basketball season in Florida, we experienced a bitter end for another UCLA basketball program this week. Coach Nikki Caldwell and her Bruins gave us a terrific season this year, but it all came to a crashing halt when the no. 3 seeded Bruins went down against no. 11 seeded Gonzaga on the Bulldogs' home court in the second round of this year's tournament.
Gonzaga played a great game. They took it to the Bruins, who did not play their usual stellar, trademark Caldwell defense. There was no question though that hey were buoyed by a rabid home crowd, and a group of referees who might have been affected by that "atmosphere." It happens all the time in basketball games. We are all used to it after experiencing mediocre Pac-10 officials for years.
The disturbing issue here is, where has the UCLA athletic department been in all this? It simply defies logic and common sense that a number 3 seeded UCLA team, which put together one of the best seasons in women's hoops, had to play against the 11 seed on their home court. Coach Caldwell took the classy route and called it "interesting." She could have said lot more but she left it at that. But where was the protest from UCLA AD Athletic Director Dan Guerrero?
Dan Guerrero is not that difficult to spot. We have seen him in the NCAA selection committee in the past. He was showing up in
We understand that Guerrero might not have wanted to ruffle any feathers. He is good buddies with those NCAA bureaucrats. But is it too much to ask from Dan to show a semblance of public leadership and speak up on behalf of student athletes who just got screwed?
When Guerrero does make his public appearances it tends to be a day late and a dollar short. Recently he just looked desperate as the fiasco around the Pauley Center Court made his department look dysfunctional and incompetent.
We appreciate Guerrero running a clean athletic department.
We appreciate Guerrero keeping UCLA in the black during a time of economic crisis.
But leadership should not be limited to just keeping kids out of trouble and balancing the checkbook. Guerrero should know that leadership also requires standing up for student athletes and the broader community he represents.
You can let the NCAA know how you feel about the Bruins getting jobbed by emailing the NCAA Director of Division I Women's Basketball Championship – Tina Krah – at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send her a note and speak on behalf of Coach Caldwell’s Bruins.
It appears they are not going to get much support from their own athletic director, who is too busy fiddling. Again.