UCLA Basketball Scandal: SI Article Details Drug Use, Fighting
Coach Ben Howland blamed for lack of discipline.
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The article says Ben Howland failed to discipline players. (KTLA-TV)
Sports Illustrated paints a picture of a basketball team that is totally out of control, with no discipline at all from Coach Ben Howland.
The article says his players routinely use drugs and alcohol, sometimes right before practice.
It claims players would party all night long, even though there was a curfew in place.
The article also says players fought with each other, sometimes intentionally injuring each other, and talked back to assistant coaches.
Sports Illustrated says Coach Howland did not punish his team because he was worried players might transfer to other schools or leave for the NBA.
The problems go back to 2008, according to the magazine, which says one of the biggest offenders was former player Reeves Nelson.
He got into repeated fights with his teammates and went out of his way to deliver cheap shots to teammates, the article says, causing two of them to transfer out of UCLA.
Howland finally kicked Nelson off the team late last year.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block had the following reaction to the article: "It is disheartening for our Bruin community to be confronted with the type of assertions contained in the Sports Illustrated story. We take seriously any challenge to who we are and what we are about, and I am confident that any issues in our men's basketball program will be rectified."
Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said, "I have discussed the Sports Illustrated story with Coach Howland and Chancellor Block, and we will continue to address any issues and concerns."
He added, "Like many in the Bruin family, I am disappointed. That said, I know that we have, and will continue to provide, the necessary resources, education and support for all of our coaches, staff and student-athletes."
Coach Howland said he is "always looking forward to improving as both a person and as a coach."
"I am proud of the coaches, staff and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to our future," he said.