- Air Force cadets ‘revolt’ after officials remove biblical verse from whiteboard
- Rep. Lee: Paul Ryan out of touch with urban Americans
- House votes down resolution to force Issa to apologize
- Kremlin blocks opposition websites; Kasparov fears Putin plans ‘something drastic’
- Saving trees? EPA wastes $1.5 million storing unneeded pamphlets in warehouse
- Scott Brown Senate bid in New Hampshire may launch soon
- Jeffrey Corzine, son of ex-N.J. governor, dead at 31
- Australian surfing magazine sorry for calling indigenous surfer ‘apeish’
- Records: Man in Fla. theater shooting also was texting
- The Putin problem: U.S. needs Russian rockets for spy satellites
Report: UCLA players undermined discipline, morale
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Players and staff members from the past four UCLA basketball teams say that coach Ben Howland allowed an influx of talented but immature recruits to undermine team discipline and morale as the once-proud program has struggled to live up to its storied history, Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday.
The report on Sports Illustrated’s website, which says SI spoke with more than a dozen players and staff members from those teams over the last two months, outlines a program in disarray. Teammates have come to blows, several players routinely used alcohol and drugs _ sometimes before practice _ and one player intentionally injured teammates but received no punishment, according to the story, which quotes its sources anonymously.
“Obviously this is not a great day for our program or for me,” Howland said on a teleconference Wednesday. “I’m responsible for this program and everything that happens in it. If there’s any need to make changes, I will make them.”
“We’ll go through the rest of the season, and then we’ll sit down and talk about the situation like we always do,” he said on a separate teleconference. “The article certainly raised some issues, but believe me we were aware of some of the issues.”
In 2008, Howland agreed to a new seven-year contract, which runs through the 2014-15 season. He is due to receive $2.3 million in the final year of the deal. Now in his ninth year in Westwood, he has a record of 205-96 going into the final weekend of the regular season.
“I am very confident of my abilities to lead this program into the future,” he said.
Guerrero said some of the allegations mentioned in the story were known by Howland and his staff and they consulted with the athletic director or his staff. Other issues were handled by Howland and his staff, while some allegations came as a surprise to Guerrero, who said they would be investigated.
“Could decisions have been made differently in some regard?” he said. “I would venture to say … yeah, we probably should have done things differently.”
According to players who spoke to the magazine, Howland had little contact with his athletes beyond practices and games. The report says the task of indoctrinating a new player fell to veterans. Howland’s former players told the magazine he had very little to do with instilling camaraderie.
“That’s hurtful,” Howland said on the teleconference. “If you talk to my former players, that may be the opinion of a specific player, I would think that actually would not be considered to be accurate.”
Several players from the 2008-09 team who spoke to SI say that some of that year’s freshmen affected the team’s unity and performance because of behavior that included drug and alcohol use, sometimes before practice.
The report says older players tried to counsel them with little success.
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
- FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- CURL: Calm down, conservatives: Obama's 'Two Ferns' bit was brilliant
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- PRUDEN: Sink sank own campaign in Florida special election
- Inside China: Why Putin's intervention in Ukraine is bad news for China
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again