Pac-12 weighs in on UCLA report
Pacific 12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott said he was "disappointed" to read about the problems with the UCLA Bruins basketball portrayed in last week's Sports Illustrated during an interview with 710 ESPN's Mark Willard that aired Sunday, but added that he has faith that the school administration has handled the situation in a proper manner.
"No one likes reading that," Scott said. "I do have great confidence in the leadership of the school, the athletic department, coach (Ben) Howland and I know they have addressed the problems that were chronicled in the article."
UCLA was portrayed as a program is disarray in the report with allegations of drug use, fighting among teammates and players with prima donna attitudes going unpunished for disruptive behavior. Scott called those incidents normal behavior among college students.
"I think it's fair to say that whatever you read in the article, you are naive if you think that's not happening at every campus in the country amongst the general student body," he said. "But knowing the leadership at UCLA, and knowing the high standards they hold themselves to, I don't think they'll use that as some excuse."
He said that the story is noteworthy mostly because it is about UCLA, which has a rich basketball tradition and a reputation of integrity in the college sports world and that the article might serve as a wake-up call to get UCLA back on top.
"It really is the gold standard based on history and championship success and Coach (John) Wooden," Scott said. "I know with that pride, the commitment to excellence that exists there is going to be a positive and very intense pressure to get the program back to where it belongs. I'm hoping that it's actually a helpful step in terms of the turnaround that everyone wants to see there."