We have been very critical of U.C.L.A.. Recreation and the Athletic Department for their plan to charge students $5 and to exclude alumni and Season Ticket holders to attend the opening festivities of Pauley Pavilion on Nov 2. Fortunately, U.C.L.A. Recreation has taken a significant step in improving the event. (Update: HT to poohbru for fanshotting this earlier).
This was tweeted yesterday:
Kenn Heller said that UCLA Recreation decided this afternoon to make Pauley Opening Madness and Homecoming free for students. #USAC— Kristen Taketa (@ktaketa518) October 24, 2012
Kenn Heller is an Assistant Dean of Students, and the young Bruin who tweeted this writes for USAC and The Daily Bruin.
First, congratulations for getting this part right. We certainly put a lot of pressure on those involved about the silliness of charging students in the first place. That was the wrong message, and the wrong way to get students interested and invested in Bruins athletics. It is difficult for institutions like U.C.L.A Recreation to change course midstream - kinda like doing a U-turn in a battleship. But their willingness to recognize that charging the students was short-sighted and changing this to a free event shows a lot of insight and leadership on their part and I applaud them for this.
However, there are still improvements to be made. I hope that now this is free that they advertise the heck out of this to the student body. It's incumbent on the students now to take advantage of this opportunity and fill Pauley to the rafters. I hope that, since this event is associated with Homecoming, they make it possible to include Season Ticket holders and other alums enjoying Homecoming weekend to fill any empty seats once every interested student is in the building. And I hope there isn't any room for them, as a campus of 26,000 undergrads better fill every seat in the place.
Of course, we still have heard absolutely nothing from our ineffective AD Dan Guerrero, who should have been out in front of this event from the start, organizing and promoting an event worthy of U.C.L.A. Basketball and our heritage, and comparable to what the top basketball programs in the country are doing. Crickets from Morgan. What a surprise.
We will update this post as more info comes in. For now I say to Dean Heller, USAC, and U.C.L.A. Rec, this is a great first step. Now, let's start running!