If you missed the minefield that was the Sports Illustrated article on UCLA basketball released this week, you missed a doozy. In short, it alleged numerous misdeeds on and off the court by UCLA players (not limited to dropping ecstasy, smoking marijuana and peeing on teammates’ clothes) and coaches during coach Ben Howland’s tenure and how Howland reportedly looked the other way mostly on such behavior.
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero on Wednesday swung by Fox Sports Radio’s Petros and Money Show to respond to the SI’s expose and commented on whether this report could hurt Howland’s future with the school:
“You can’t really throw it all into one bag. Over the course of nine years Ben has run the program and by in large the greater number of the student athletes that have been in his program have been fantastic young men, some of them have gone on and obviously they’re doing well in the professional ranks, some are overseas doing great and some are just great young men in society today. We’ve had a few situations with a few young men that have not represented the program the way we would like in a general sense but the most important thing is we take this article, we take where we are as a program, and at the end of the season Ben and I will talk things through. Obviously you need to have an alignment of vision, correct what’s wrong, and we just need to make certain that we are there. That process doesn’t take place till the end of the year like we always do it. We always meet at the end of the year and go through the season.”
In the past few seasons UCLA hasn’t played up to its reputation as being the crown jewel of college hoops. This season the Bruins remain in the middle of the pack in the standings of a currently unremarkable Pac-12. So a recent lack of success coupled with this scandal would make you think there’s little promise for Howland’s future. To Howland’s credit he’s brought this program to the Final Four three straight times and has a great track record of producing NBA talent. Bottom line: Somebody has to be held responsible and face the consequences. And perhaps Guerrero himself shouldn’t be immune from that.