It appears that Morgan Center is in a panic mode. Over the weekend Mark Harlan fired off few form emails in response to the concerns Bruin alums and students have been expressing about the Pauley Seating boondoggle through multiple online outlets. Keep it coming both on Facebook and through Twitter. Harlan's response was cookie cutter and didn't add anything new to the lame press release, which has now been exposed for containing number of stretches, distortions and outright falsehoods.
One could suspect that the lengthy post from one of the Den Leaders offering up a lengthy ramble of incoherent and illogical excuses (you can read Bellerophon's thorough debunking here), might have been prodded by Morgan Center's clumsy staff. Setting all that aside, there is a key point that came up in the comment threads of B's post, which is worth highlighting on the home page.
The observation came from lil eg not cs - a brand new alum and a key student leader in UCLA athletics in recent years - about how Coach Ben Howland would perceive this mess:
I just can't help but think that if this happened last year the students wouldn't have been screwed. The first step I would've taken and that can still be done is reach out to Dr. Berky Nelson. If that doesn't work, Scott Garson is a really big supporter of the Den. I've personally seen Howland rip Scott Mitchell of marketing a new one. I highly doubt that Howland is supportive of this plan. If that didn't work, work with USAC and the alumni. Everyone is here to help the students.
Howland can play a productive role in resolving this crisis, by advocating on behalf of students who are upset (as documented by B and gbruin) about getting shut out from Pauley's courtside. He can play a leading role in restoring students court-side seating in New Pauley.
B showed in his post how Tom Izzo - who many would argue is the best if not one of the top-3 college coaches in the country - played a big role in making sure the vibrant Izzone not only remained along the sidelines, but also in front of the camera at Breslin Center. May be Coach Howland can play the same role in ensuring a vibrant student present along the sidelines and in front of the cameras inside New Pauley?
We know Howland loves the student section. lil eg not cs noted above how he fought for the students previously. He has been the only UCLA official, who has done public outreach to students to "drum up Bruin spirit." He would be a natural leader to speak up on behalf of upset students and alums.
Howland has been quiet since Morgan Center dropped this stinker last week. There is no need to bombard him with emails. But, it will be helpful to ask him publicly to help all of us in putting students first at Pauley. If you have a Twitter account, please tweet this:
RT @BruinNation Coach @Ben_Howland please help #Bruins restore #UCLA students' court-side seats http://sbn.to/fGPWh8 #SFatPauley
We have had many difficult conversations involving Ben Howland this past season. I have been hard on Ben myself. What is happening now is a huge opportunity for Howland to emotionally connect with UCLA students and alums.
I hope Coach Howland will make the right move. I hope he will follow the example of Coach Tom Izzo. I hope he will do what Coach John Wooden have done - put students first at Pauley. He would do this if he wants to carry on the mantle of UCLA basketball as the Caretaker of Coach Wooden's program.