UCLA Confirms SI Exposé on Player Drug Use

Early Tuesday SbB reported on Twitter that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED planned to publish a story detailing drug use within the UCLA basketball program.

The investigative piece, which SbB has been told recounts marijuana usage by players who have since departed the program, was addressed by UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland at his weekly press conference in Los Angeles today.

Q: Have you heard about the Sports Illustrated article coming out?

A: I know there is an article coming out and I think it’s tomorrow.

Q: Have you been contacted for it?

A: I was contacted last Wednesday or Thursday.

Q: Any idea what the subject of the story is going to be?

A: I can’t speculate.

Q: How do you handle a negative story that has a national interest 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: Do you think there was a period when there was kids in the program who had drug problems?

A: Specifically I can’t talk about any former player or student relative to having anything 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 receive discipline.

Q: When you think back do you think you’ve correctly handled inappropriate behavior by players?

A: With specific players in terms of working with our student athletes, I guess I have to ask you to be more specific.

Q: When a player did something inappropriate, do you think you’ve handled those things correctly?

A: Yeah, I think for the most part, I have.

Q: You said “most part.” Is there something maybe you should have . . .

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.

SbB has been told the 6,500+ word SI story will be posted to the magazine’s website Wednesday morning.

Sources have also recently indicated to SbB that UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero previously tipped off non-athletic UCLA administrators and major donors to the story by noting that the school has hired a crisis communication firm to help address the situation publicly.

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UCLA: Rick Neuheisel Fired, Will Coach Friday

Multiple sources have confirmed to SbB that UCLA will announce today that Rick Neuheisel has been fired but will coach the team Friday against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Rick Neuheisel

The plan, as it currently stands, is for UCLA to announce the firing at 11am PT with a followup press conference at 2:30pm PT.

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Ex-Agent: Compliance Just a Game, Not a Practice

The longest-running story in the modern history of sports is the reformation of college football.

That is, how to combat the century-old amateurism sham employed by power football schools as cover to obtain a tax-exemption - despite those esteemed academic institutions operating what are essentially professional sports franchises fueled by unpaid labor.

In some ways, I can understand the aforementioned, eternal refrain and find it hard to blame the incestuous buraucrats operating their exploitive, BCS school-based shell game. Safe to say the majority of the population, if not accountable to any manner of legitimate oversight, wouldn’t deplane that gravy train either.

But what if I told you there’s an idea now percolating that could change all that - without ruining the game we all love?

Enter Josh Luchs.

On August 18, 2011, ex-NFL agent Luchs proposed the only realistic way to reign in outlaw BCS school administrators while preserving at least a semblance of the business of college athletics as we know it today:

Want a real solution — real change — instead of the next expose? Don’t blame the compliance departments, change the system. Make them like Eliot Ness’ “Untouchables” who busted the bootleggers — not local cops on the take but G-men. Take Compliance Departments off the school payroll and put them on an autonomous payroll of the NCAA. It just might produce more vigilant compliance staffs and an atmosphere more conducive to rules enforcement as opposed to self-preservation.

The concept of unimpeachable, third party oversight is as foreign to BCS member schools as the NCAA rulebook.

It’s no coincidence that Luchs was first to produce the closest thing to a silver bullet defense of NCAA rules since, as we found out October 12, 2010, no one better understands the architecture of that empty storefront than Maurice Clarett’s former agent.

One year later - minus a day - since he first exposed BCS Gone Wild, Luchs will once again present all-talk college football administrators as a study in status quo.

In a Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary about sports agents to air Tuesday on ESPN, Luchs steals the show by diagramming and executing an unchecked, on-campus play into the personal space of UCLA football players:

As part of the short scene in Spurlock’s The Dotted Line, Luchs easily exposes an unsupervised way - which exists to this day - for any sports agent to make personal contact with current UCLA players right in the middle of the school’s football facilities.If UCLA - or any BCS member school - knew its football program would be officially screwed if a third party enforcement group detected such a breach, what’s the odds Luchs would have such undue access?

So what are the chances the BCS school lobby would ever allow the NCAA to install meaningful third party oversight - eliminating the laughable in-house compliance model?

It’ll definitely take someone with significant sway to get behind the idea in a very public way.

Now, if you could only somehow find someone ..

1) .. with an established public profile who has and will continue to travel the country - most recently on his own dime - to espouse the idea.

2) .. with experience playing a direct role in a political process that recently enacted state legislation pertaining to NCAA rules compliance.

3) .. with intimate knowledge of the intersection between NCAA true believers, college football bean counters and agenda-driven media companies.

4) .. with enough street smarts to prevail upon and facilitate other NCAA rules breakers to go on the record.

5) .. with a book due out soon - from a major publisher - that expounds on the idea and is likely to get traction in the media.


That’s Luchs.

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Photos: USC Football Team Wears UCLA Jerseys

During the USC football team’s practice on Thursday, the Trojan scout team wore jerseys designed to resemble arch rival UCLA.

USC scout team wearing UCLA jerseys during practice

(Photos Credit: USC)

The powder blues were used during a scrimmage in which the scout team impersonated the offense and defense of USC’s opponent this Saturday.

USC scout team wearing UCLA jerseys during practice

That opponent? Minnesota.

Though USC doesn’t play UCLA until November 26, USC coach Lane Kiffin used the blue & gold ensemble to motivate players to escape scout team duties - while lightening the mood at practice.

Rick Neuheisel UCLA Monopoly Photoshop

So what’s Skippy’s excuse?

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

UCLA Fan Sites Killed Defensive Coordinator Hire

Exactly one week ago, the USC DAILY TROJAN student newspaper reported that former USC assistant football coach Rocky Seto had accepted an offer to become UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator.

Rick Neuheisel UCLA Monopoly Photoshop

Originally included in that report was a text message attributed to Seto that read: “[I] accepted the position tonight to coordinate at UCLA. Praise the Lord!

The same day, on Seto’s Facebook page, he received messages from friends who congratulated him on landing the job.

The next day, Feb. 2,  Chris Foster of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported a source saying the Seto hire was a “done deal.

Rocky Seto is expected to be hired as UCLA defensive coordinator.

A UCLA official said Tuesday that no one had been hired, but people close to Seto who were not authorized to speak on the subject said it was a “done deal.”

Interestingly though, Foster Tweeted that when he tried to contact Seto about the UCLA job opportunity …

After a text message was fired off to Seto by LA Times, Seto’s text quote was mysteriously removed from the Daily Trojan story.

Two days later, on Feb. 4, Foster Tweeted that Seto had been offered the job.

Rocky Seto has been offered, but nothing is finalized. Randy Shannon is still in the background.

Then, on Feb. 5, Foster reported the offer from UCLA to Seto had been pulled:

Seto, an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, was offered and accepted the job Tuesday night, but the offer was rescinded the following day, according to the person close to the negotiations. The person said that no reason was given other than UCLA officials decided to go “in another direction.” UCLA officials claimed Saturday that no “official” offer had been made.

This morning, Seto confirmed to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he’d been offered the job by UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, accepted it, then had the offer rescinded. Seto:

“He called, and he was really gracious about it and very flattering. It just wasn’t the right time. What was flattering about it was I really believe he wanted to do it, but the circumstances just wouldn’t allow for it.”

Now let me translate exactly what Seto meant by that quote - and why things happened the way they did. Read more…

Video Of The Rose Bowl Turning Into Rose Brawl

Last night a giant melee exploded outside the Rose Bowl before the USC-UCLA football game.

Rose Brawl

Pasadena Police report up to 75 people were involved in the disturbance, with two stabbings confirmed and three men currently in custody facing serious criminal charges.

Today I was sent raw video of a the scene, and let’s just say that there was no exaggeration in the reporting of the incident. Read more…

Rose Bowl: Man’s Face Stabbed, Cop Breaks Hand

When I wrote this week of the ugliness between USC and UCLA fans whenever the two teams tee it up each year in Los Angeles, I never fathomed what happened tonight before the game at the Rose Bowl.

Rose Bowl Brawl


More details continue to bleed out following a massive melee reportedly involving up to 75 people outside the Rose Bowl before the USC-UCLA game.

Rose Bowl stabbings video

An unnamed Pasadena Police Officer reported to CBS 2 in Los Angeles Sunday evening that the dispute, which left one officer with a broken hand, included a man who was stabbed in the face while another man was stabbed “multiple times in the back.”
Read more…

AD Was First, Now Last To Know About Neuheisel

Before the season, UCLA football Coach Rick Neuheisel told the media over the summer that he thought the Bruins were going to surprise some “people” this season.

Rick Neuheisel UCLA Monopoly Photoshop

(Not exactly breaking news here)

At Pac-10 media day on July 29, Neuheisel said, “I believe we’re going to be better than people believe and I don’t mind saying it. … our expectations are higher and they should be. We’re in Year 3, we’ve done a lot of research, we’ve done a lot of development, the kids have all bought in. It’s time to play.

Neuheisel was right about one thing, plenty of “people” are surprised about the performance of his football team this year.

I don’t know many people (outside of Heritage Hall) who thought UCLA would be 4-7 going into its final game of the season against USC Saturday.

Or that none of the teams UCLA has beaten this season has a winning record.
Or that deep into season three, Neuheisel is 15-21 overall and 8-18 in the Pac-10.

Karl Dorrell, who was fired to make way for Neuheisel, was 10-2 in his third season coaching the Bruins. Following that year, Dorrell’s coaching record stood at 22-15 overall and 14-10 in-conference.

Guerrero jettisoned Dorrell after his fifth season, a 35-27 overall record, and 24-18 Pac-10 result notwithstanding.

After UCLA surrendered 55 consecutive points to Arizona State in a 55-24 loss last Friday, the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER’s Scott Reid asked UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero is “if Neuheisel would definitely be back in 2010.
Read more…

USC-UCLA Rivalry Week: It’s Fratzy Versus Statzy

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, but it doesn’t take that long to see what comes closest to uniting this sprawling megalopolis.

The SC vs. UCLA football game.

That’s it folks. One game, one day. (Clippers-Lakers? Child pleez.)

As school rivalries go, this ancient college football aficionado places SC vs. UCLA at the very top of the list when it comes the utter, personal repugnance one side assigns the other. On the field and, perhaps moreso, in the seats.

Those of you in Big Ten and SEC country may chuckle when you hear that, but I’m far from a provincial observer.

Bruin Bear Vandalized With Paint Photos

(Last year Bruin Bear was sabotaged by SC)

I grew up in Kansas City, in the crosshairs of KU and Mizzou. Mom is a Sooner, so I was immersed in OU-Nebraska hate back in the day. Same with Arky vs. Bevo in the ’70s and ’80s thanks to my grandpappy - a proud Hawg.

I graduated from the Univ. of Georgia, where Thanksgiving mean taunting Tech and cocktails are garnished with, “it’s great, to be, a Gator hater!

First job out of college, I worked Univ. of South Carolina football broadcasts for three seasons, and was blown away by Cocky vs. CLEMP-sun.

SbB Girl Jenna UCLA bruin bear hibernating

(SC defeated this Bruin defense to defile Bruin Bear)

I was a credential-carrying media member in Columbus for nearly five years and hosted local Ohio State football broadcasts during that time. (See a little thing I like to call “that team up north.“)

And after moving to L.A. I worked USC football broadcasts for three seasons.

Through it all, my early allegiance was most tied to Notre Dame. My father, brother and cousin all graduated from the school and I spent my childhood bunking several times a year in the ND dorms the night before Irish home games.

SbB Girl Cecilia In Front Of Tommy Trojan Statue On USC Campus

(USC electric tapes Tommy Trojan week of UCLA game to stop vandals)

I was a gape-mouthed 10-year-old at a single-deck Notre Dame Stadium for the ‘77 ND-SC game when the Irish broke out the green jerseys for the first time in 14 years. Before the unis became a tired novelty act signifying more Champs clearance than actual inspiration.

Former USC student manager Brad Green remembers the ‘77 SC-Notre Dame pregame: Read more…

Slick 60: Rick Neuheisel “‘Preciates” Oregon Fan

After UCLA’s 60-13 loss at Oregon Thursday, Bruins football coach Rick Neuheisel made the fortuitous decision to hold his postgame press conference in view of where Oregon fans were seated at Autzen Stadium.

Rick Neuheisel Heckled By Oregon Fan After 60-13 Loss To Ducks

In an incredibly unpredictable yet delightful development, Neuheisel ended up bonding with one of the locals.

No, really.
Read more…