By Guest Contributor Dr. David J. Leonard
Much of the buzz surrounding Sports Illustrated’s report about the
troubles surrounding UCLA men’s basketball program has focused on the players, sporting headlines like “UCLA players undermined discipline, morale,” and “UCLA Basketball Out Of Control.” But the story itself really hones in on coach Ben Howland’s failure to “control” and “discipline” those players.
But if this same story had been about teams like UNLV, Miami or
Michigan’s “Fab Five,” the narrative would been less one of shock and
disappointment but rather the fulfillment of expectation, which are
wrapped in racial and class assumptions that UCLA, celebrated as an
example of the nostalgic ideal of collegiate sports entertainment, has benefited from for years.