Recently, some guy at BruinsNation put up a FanPost detailing how he sent in a bunch of UCLA swag to Chancellor Block in protest of the athletic department following a rough loss in football to U$C. The score was 50-0, so the anger was justified. I was also pretty darn close to sending in my swag, stepped on and tear-ridden in protest of our awful basketball and football programs.
But that wasn’t all the dope decided to throw into this box. In addition, he threw in a voided check for $2500 to the UCLA Fund, which supports researchers and academic programs throughout UCLA. Here’s the picture, which actually disgusts me:
Of course, at first glance, this isn’t too bad. That is, until a woman named Sirinya commented on the post, explaining that the UCLA Fund is separate from the support that UCLA Athletics receives from donors. When you donate to the UCLA Fund, you’re donating to academia. Of course, one can donate to the Athletic Department directly or, hell, to the Wooden Athletic Fund, which includes the following in its mission statement:
The Wooden Athletic Fund is the backbone of our fundraising efforts. It exists because of the financial commitment thousands of individuals have made to its mission of providing opportunities for our 700 + student-athletes.
That’s pretty damned specific. So then what does the UCLA Fund say about what it supports?
Through fundraising, volunteer work, and stewardship, we help secure UCLA’s future by providing the necessary resources to sustain our excellence in academics, research, and community service. In short, by connecting supporters to numerous areas, departments, schools, and programs across campus, we make UCLA an even more amazing place.
Well, it looks like the poor saps at Bruins Nation were too busy writing and commenting and foaming at the mouth to actually read into anything Sirinya, who works for the UCLA Fund, was saying. Typical.
In essence, Bruins Nation would like to punish academic research and community service that UCLA conducts because of the poor state of the basketball and football programs, when there’s a separate entity that accepts those types of donations. Totally sounds like a good idea.
Seeing those $2500 go down the drain hurts, because while I love and support my Bruins, I am also still a student at UCLA. I study Psychology, and when push comes to shove, I’ll be more concerned about the qualify of my education rather than the state of both the football and basketball programs. The knuckleheads at Bruins Nation make a point that the entire experience involves both academics and athletics, but they fail to realize that withholding checks that would support academics does not help — or put pressure on — the athletic department any more than it helps the ailing students.
Bruins Nation fails to realize that, in these times of economic hardship, every penny counts. The State of California is rapidly lifting its support of the UC system from underneath these prestigious schools. Tuition hikes are killing students and programs that are detrimental to the school are at risk of getting cut. The UCLA Fund does what it can to alleviate such cuts, so those $2500 would have been a big deal, because, again, every penny counts.
And this is what’s wrong with sports — the entertainment value of it is that it hits home. Emotions are high while you’re watching from home as your team gets embarrassed, but not many fans realize that it is just entertainment to them. If they wanted to be heard, they would have sent a voided check for that amount to the UCLA Athletics Department and given the money, in earnest, to the UCLA Fund.
I’m a sports nut, too. (Hello. I created an entire blog dedicated to UCLA sports. I know how frustrating this is.) You cannot think straight when your team — your pride and joy — takes beating after beating when you know they’re better than what they’re displaying. For that, I cannot blame Bruins Nation. Losing hurts, especially when it’s your alma mater — which once pridefully took to the Rose Bowl and won valiantly — that’s losing in such an embarrassing fashion.
But they forget that they were once students, too. Those dollars may not have meant too much when they were going to school, but for students like myself and 60,000 others, that money is crucial.
Their intentions in this check-voiding scheme are ballsy, but the results are ball-dropping. They intended to protest the Athletic Department, but instead decided to protest academics.
And, in this case, such ignorance hurts gravely.