LOS ANGELES--UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland acknowledged Tuesday that he had been contacted by Sports Illustrated for a potentially damaging article that is coming out this week.
Howland said he doesn't not know the topic of the story, but various reports have tabbed it as an expose about Howland being responsible for diminishing a once-proud program because of his inability to relate to players.
"No one is perfect," Howland said when discussing the article. "I would never claim to be that person. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m definitely not perfect."
The following exchange with Howland took place during his weekly press conference. Again, the article has not yet been published so neither Howland nor the media members asking the questions were aware of the exact content of the article when the exchange took place:
Q: HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE SPORT ILLUSTRATED ARTICLE?
A: I know there is an article coming out and I think it’s tomorrow.
Q: WERE YOU CONTACTED FOR IT?
A: I was contacted last Wednesday or Thursday.
Q: DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
A: I can’t speculate.
Q: HOW DO YOU HANDLE POTENTIAL NEGATIVE PUBLICITY WITH RECRUITS?
A: Make the players we’re involved with aware of it and we’ve done that so it’s not coming out without some knowledge of the article.
Q: ARE YOU AWARE OF A DRUG PROBLEM WITH YOUR TEAM?
A: Specifically I can’t talk about any former player or student relative having to do with that. We have a comprehensive drug policy here at UCLA where any time someone fails a random drug test, I’m alerted, the trainer is alerted and the person overseeing the drug policy here. And there is a very good and outstanding program in place for student athletes of all teams to receive education and receive counseling and to receive discipline.
Q: DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE HANDLED ALL INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR CORRECTLY?
A: With specific players in terms of working with our student athletes--I guess I have to ask you to be more specific.
Q: IF YOU SAW A PLAYER DO SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE, DO YOU THINK YOU’VE HANDLED THOSE THINGS CORRECTLY?
A: Yeah, I think for the most part, I have.
Q: THE MOST PART?
A: I’d have to go back and look at specifics. You’re speaking in generalities. No one is perfect. I would never claim to be that person. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m definitely not perfect.