Alexander: Easiest Column of the Year, thanks to the readers

For whatever reason, a year ago we overlooked an annual holiday tradition in This Space. Today, we correct that oversight.

It is again time for the readers’ Christmas gift to the columnist: the Easiest Column of the Year. I thank you for reading, and for responding – even when you’re unhappy – but remember the ground rules: The columnist always reserves the right to the last word.

• College Sports Inc., and the administrators who oversee it, keep reminding us that it ceased being about winning one for dear old State U. ages ago. Back-to-back columns last week reinforced this: The UC Regents’ decision to allow UCLA to go to the Big Ten while attaching financial stipulations, and the announcement a day later that the National Labor Relations Board would pursue an unfair labor practices complaint against USC, the Pac-12 and the NCAA, which raises the question of whether college athletes should actually be considered employees.

Robert Forsberg, a proud alumnus of Cal, took issue with my description of the compensation UCLA would pay to his alma mater – a sum of anywhere from $2 million to $10 million, and bet on something closer to the latter – as the “Berkeley Tax.” But that is exactly how the Regents themselves described it.

Forsberg also noted that UCLA and USC put together the deal stealthily (to which the Regents noted their objections); that Cal is still paying on stadium upgrades and earthquake retrofitting, and that – as I pointed out – the loss of the L.A. schools will reduce the amount the remaining Pac-12 institutions receive in media rights money.

“The problem as I see it is that the body of UCLA in looking at the regents’ actions puts blame and hatred toward Cal,” he wrote. “Your article, seemingly advocating each UC campus fly by itself, leads fuel to that fire. It is not right. Cal has done nothing to UCLA.”

Again, I merely quoted one of the Regents who acknowledged that (a) each campus competes separately in athletics, and (b) chancellors do have the right to do what’s best for their particular campuses.

In reality? I wish UCLA and USC were staying in the Pac-12. It’s where they belong. But as I noted the day the decision was announced,  a decade’s worth of bad decisions out of the office of former Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott led to this action.

• Along those lines, Bob Munson of Newbury Park noted, “Word will spread quickly that being a UCLA (or USC) athlete means road warrior. Top athletes will go elsewhere. Look for the teams to become mediocre.”

Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, Mark Badraun wrote, “All we need for evidence that UCLA’s move to the Big 10 was the correct move is Bill Walton’s opposition.”

And then there is this take, from legendary UCLA men’s volleyball coach Al Scates, noting that current athletic director Martin Jarmond had confirmed to him that if the school had been denied the opportunity to move to the Big Ten, seven men’s Olympic sports would have been cut: “(If) the courts decide to pay football and basketball players the proceeds from the gate and television (men’s) and women’s Olympic sports will be dropped.”

• As for the NLRB decision, based on the complaint filed by the National College Players Association, Ken Kunishima suggested that the action against USC reflected the animus of NCPA executive director Ramogi Huma, who as we’ve noted is a former UCLA football player.

“And you’re certainly aware of UCLA alumni and football players’ manic hatred of all things TROJAN,” he wrote. “Just put two and two together, Mr. Alexander, and voila! It’s just basic deductive reasoning.”

Um, not so fast. Huma’s organization had filed a similar unfair labor practice charge against UCLA, but the NLRB requested they withdraw it for the time being. Anyway, Huma put his alma mater on blast after the Regents meeting: “UCLA leaders and UC Regents have lost their way. UCLA athletes are not university property. They should be treated fairly in both the educational and business aspects of college sports.”

• Mark Doran made this point: “One thought…if college football players are employees, then do they have to pay income taxes on what they receive for the services they do, including the value of their ‘education?’ Maybe they can argue the education is not worth much, and they probably could find a lot of evidence of this, poking another hole in the big lie, aka ‘college athlete.’”

Ouch. Still, I’m sure the IRS will be watching closely.

• This is from a couple of months back, but I couldn’t resist this observation from regular reader and correspondent William Stremel following the World Series: “This just in: The Astros celebrated their World Series win with their traditional ‘Bang on the Trash Cans’ ceremony.”

It will never go away.

• And Maureen Flynn-Becerra, regarding the passing of former Cal State Fullerton and UCLA women’s basketball coach Billie Moore, said “she set the bar for women’s basketball not only across the country, but in our own backyard!” But then she asked this question:

Related Articles

Sports |

Alexander: Steve Lavin is back on the coaching carousel at USD

Sports |

Alexander: At the end of another wacky NFL day, Chargers are in a playoff spot

Sports |

Alexander: Should college athletes be reclassified as employees?

Sports |

Alexander: After the bluster, UC Regents allow UCLA to head to Big Ten – for a price

Sports |

Alexander: History of the Dodgers? It’s in the book

“WHY is Billie Moore NOT inducted into the CSUF Athletics Hall of Fame???? She should have been inducted in the first class, but was not, and is not even on the roster! Billie also is/was a resident of Fullerton since her arrival in CA.”

That’s a serious omission that needs to be fixed at the very next opportunity.

• The final word: Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice or Festivus (and you might want to go easy on those Feats of Strength), may your holiday be joyous, peaceful and safe.

Share the Post:

Related Posts