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Editorial: Proposal for new basketball facility proves wasteful


Major Division I athletics programs like UCLA’s face the constant challenge of having to please multiple parties with every action. Donors, high-caliber coaches and the best recruits are all necessary pieces in sustaining a multimillion-dollar, national title-winning operation.

Catering to all these parties also requires the best facilities, which understandably will be due for renovation after years of wear and tear.

High-cost facilities that serve to benefit very few, however, are best left as blueprints. Specifically, UCLA Athletics’ recent proposal for a $30-40 million, state-of-the-art men’s and women’s basketball facility to be built south of the Los Angeles Tennis Center would be an enormous waste.

The proposal to facilitate new locker rooms and 24-hour practice courts seeks to raise private funds as a large part of the $4.2 billion for The Centennial Campaign for UCLA and comes on the tail of a $136 million renovation of Pauley Pavilion, a donor-funded facility already dressed with brand-new locker rooms and a film room. With its updated and expansive amenities, UCLA Athletics’ plan is little more than a pricey redundancy. The department plans to raise $260 million from donors by 2019, a pool of funding that will help pay for plenty of purposeful renovations. A new basketball facility isn’t one of them.

The new facility will undoubtedly serve as a perk for recruits in years to come. Facilities and resources are on par with a tradition of winning and a history of professional placement as incentives to draw top-flight recruiting classes.

This board recognized the benefit of a steady recruiting stream with the announcement of a football-facility funding drive late last year, but the football program’s needs are entirely different. Spaulding Field consists of two less-than-stellar 80-yard football fields, and the Rose Bowl is a hard sell to high school athletes at a 30-plus-minute drive from campus. Something in that equation had to change for the football program to be on a level playing field with schools like Oregon and USC.

And even with scheduling conflicts, this campus is by no means devoid of basketball courts. UCLA has indoor courts in the John Wooden Center and the Student Activities Center, which within the last month has been a suitable-enough host for NBA franchises like the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ken Weiner, UCLA senior associate athletic director, perhaps summed it up best in a promotional video tour of the new Pauley Pavilion from October 2012.

“28,000 square feet of floor space,” he said. “That’s a lot of space to get things done.”

It’s enough space, in fact, to eliminate any reasonable need to spend $30-40 million on more square footage.

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  • IIWIICUB

    if UCLA wants an elite basketball team then it needs a dedicated practice facility. to say that shouldn’t be a priority would be a separate issue…

    but the $30-40M isn’t being diverted from some other more deserving revenue target, is it? it’s all privately funded? perhaps address that side of the issue more cogently. just sounds like someone complaining to complain, otherwise.

    • Spencer Jacobson

      Pointing out that it’s stupid to spend 40 million dollars on duplicate facilities is complaining to complain?

      • IIWIICUB

        did you miss the part where i mentioned that the 30-40M is privately funded and necessary to ensure the long-term success of the basketball team?

        it’s not your money. it’s not taking money away from any project that would have received it otherwise, and unless you can provide a more convincing reason not to do it then yes, you and the authors of this article are complaining just to complain.

      • Him Jill

        The main premise of this editorial is flawed. While there may be duplication of certain minor components, the whole point of the facility is to provide practice courts, which is not duplication. Pauley is a multipurpose facility and is not always available to the players. I also disagree that UCLA is “by no means devoid of basketball courts”. When I was a student 20 years ago there were no available courts during nights and weekends and that was before they took away some courts to build additional housing. The courts at SAC are not even regulation. To get an idea of how far behind UCLA is in the facilities arms race, editorial board might want to look up what Jon Crispin said about our facilities 10 years ago.

  • Nicholas Fandorin

    I don’t think this is the issue of whether or not the funds are private. The question is how does UCLA see its future. At the moment money is a problem — not only for the university, but also for the students. By 2019 they plan to raise an enormous amount of money. May be they plan this to fix all existing problems and then 30-40 million dollars in cash for a new sports facility is justified. However, if campus remains in debt and tuition goes up 2 times, then there is an issue of priorities. I think most people who attack the proposition to build a new expensive basketball center look at it from the standpoint of today’s issues when most of us see that the money can be spent in more “constructive” ways. At this point it is all up to UCLA’s budgeting.

    • IIWIICUB

      Unfortunately, this is another flawed argument and the backlash from your frustrations (and those of the editorial board) is completely misdirected.

      Sports have always played an important role in UCLA’s history- from Jackie Robinson to John Wooden to Arthur Ashe, and on and on and on. That is not going to (and should not) change.

      But the reality is that UCLA has wealthy donors that are interested in seeing our basketball team do well. This $30-40M would not be available for other things/ in UCLA’s budget w/o sports. It is not taking away from anything. And, more importantly, it is pennies compared to the $4 billion dollars UCLA is raising for more “constructive” purposes.

      The good news, however, is that there are other wealthy donors that care about other things. Remember this?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnuAYZ7vSiM&feature=youtu.be

      Or this?
      http://giveto.ucla.edu/the-centennial-campaign/

      • Nicholas Fandorin

        That may very well be so.
        I myself have no experience with the university’s budgeting process or any knowledge of their far-fetched future plans. It might possibly be the case that the basketball team will bring in the profits that will not only pay for the center but also add to the overall university revenue (and bring us honor). It is entirely up to the competent members of the administration to decide and predict.
        The only thing I tried to get across was that the concerns that are expressed in this editorial note might be caused by looking at the issue at hand from the standpoint of present time. But it all will most probably change by 2019. Only time or very skilled economy analysts will tell. I myself am not trying to say anything concrete against or in favor of the project — it is all too vague at the moment.

        • IIWIICUB

          At least you admit that you have no idea what you’re taking about. But It’s really not vague at all. It’s a 30-40M project funded completely by private donations. A feasibility study analyzed the site conditions, it meets the requirements and intent of the University of California Regent’s Policy on Sustainable Practices as it pertains to green building design and energy efficiency, will be required to achieve a LEED Gold rating, and underlies the primary objective of the centennial campaign:

          http://www.uclabruins.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30500&ATCLID=209504571

          So yeah, it might be a better policy going forward for you to do just a little bit more fact-finding before voicing your opinion on something publicly then. Like I said before, it just sounds like you’re complaining just to complain, otherwise.

    • timinhi

      To those who keep bringing up the argument that the money is supposedly coming only from “wealthy private donors,” do you think that the initial construction costs will be the only costs involved with this facility? Who’s going to pay for ongoing maintainance, security, utilities, upgrades, renovations, additional liability & property insurance, and the list goes on & on, once it’s built? Do you think that’s all cheap? And what about the fact that the last I heard, they are still raising funds for the Pauley renovation? Oh, I know! After the university finishes paying off its share of what’s probably going to be a huge court award to Ed O’Bannon and every other athlete who ever attended UCLA going back to the Great Depression, and once those college athletes’ unions get established, the university can just write it into their recruits’ contracts that when they jump to the pros before graduating, they’ll have to give the school a cut of their pro salaries to help pay the debts on those fancy facilities!

      • IIWIICUB

        probably the revenue-generating basketball team and football team that pays for itself and subsidizes the rest of the sports on campus?

        but i guess the sky is falling so bring on the doom and gloom. let it all out. vent. shut down college athletics! at least we’re starting to uncover now that this is more about your deep-seeded zealotry more than an issue you have with our basketball team.

        • timinhi

          Oh, and you’re so obviously not a zealot for turning the BRUINS athletic programs into major professional league teams and sparing no expense to do so, even if it displaces other facilities on campus and places a higher priority on sports to the exclusion of the true mission of the university.

          • IIWIICUB

            listen, we can keep going on in circles here if you want- i’ll keep being reasonable and you can keep being a zealot, if that’s how you want it.

            but wait, what’s the true mission of the university? spoiler alert: athletics have been an important part of it for nearly 100 years. (we’ve been over this, but here’s the documentation on that, since you’ve seemed to have missed it earlier: http://giveto.ucla.edu/the-centennial-campaign/ )

            spoiler alert two: PRIORITIES BY UNIT:

            health sciences: 2 billion
            professional schools: 1.362 billion
            college of letters and science: 400M
            athletics: 260M

            totally putting a higher priority on sports now, aren’t we? totally “excluding” academic pursuits, huh?

            so keep throwing things at the wall though- you’re bound to get something right sooner or later- and i’ll keep reminding you that we get the best of both worlds at ucla.

            and i’ll also keep implying that private donors can do what they want with their money and that spending money on the school’s sports teams is very congruent with the university’s goals and has been since it was founded.

            (this would also mean that a subsidy doesn’t bother me at all even though the athletic department’s budget was balanced in 2012: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/schools/finances/)

          • timinhi

            What is all this nonsense about “private donors can do what they want” you keep spewing? That is simply not true. Obviously, you have little understanding or knowledge of the multitude of laws, rules, regulations & university policies that control a myriad of factors as to monetary donations to the university– how much, how often, by whom, to what & where it’s directed, whom it may be attributed to, how it will be recognized, what the tax implications are and on & on. There are also built-in mechanisms that allow for appointed committees to review & approve donations & projects, and even for public input. In all likelihood, for this particular project, if they have specific donors lined up, we can assume they & UCLA have jumped through the appropriate hoops or are going through the process. But speaking as an attorney, it grates on my sensibilities when I read such an ignorant & simplistic statement because it’s vastly more complex than that, especially when we’re talking about tens of millions of dollars and a publicly funded institution.

            As to me being a “zealot” & you being.”reasonable,” I suppose that may be true, but only if we specify that I’m a zealot for protecting the academic integrity & image of my alma mater and the taxpayers’ premier research institution from being completely hijacked by big sports interests, and if we define “reasonable” as meaning that only.your opinion could possibly be correct and anyone who disagrees is not only wrong, but is a zealot who has nothing to contribute to the discussion.

            I am perfectly aware of the athletic history of my university. I don’t need your smug references to remind.me, especially since I suspect that other than a few quick Google searches, your grasp of it is probably fairly limited compared to mine. The main factor that sparked my interest & application to UCLA, the ONLY college I applied to, was it’s athletic history & reputation, particularly basketball & John Wooden. Don’t presume to lecture me. But just because I am proud of and love the tradition, doesn’t mean I have to blindly accept & go along with what I believe is a misstep or betrayal of the university’s priorities simply in the name of attracting high school players to the school with shiny new expensive toys, extravagances, and unnecessary special treatment that will only be utilized at any one time by approximately 10 students (20 if you count the women– I don’t know if they’ll get to use it)– a grossly disproportionate utilization of resources– especially when all the purposes of this new white elephant facility are already being adequately served at Pauley, where the locker rooms, training rooms & other facilities represented the most luxurious private men’s club I have ever seen. There’s no reason that shouldn’t be sufficient for the hoops team to share with the other few relatively small teams that use the facility. The other departments whose fundraising goals & budgets you listed benefit and are used by thousands of students, faculty & other employees.

            I’ve already pointed out how rude & disrespectful you are. I’ll add immature to the list. Your “debating” (if you can call it that) tactic is to immediately belittle & disparage the people who deign to post an opinion not in line with your own. This is not representative of how the University of California, which prides itself first & formost as a free forum for the exchange of ideas, wants to be seen. If indeed you have some actual connection to the university other than as a sports fan (which I’m beginning to doubt, and I truly hope you AREN’T representative of today’s Bruins), you are reflecting extremely poorly on UCLA & the Daily Bruin, also an institution with a proud reputation. If there IS a thread moderator, I hope they see this and have the good sense to ban you until you learn how to behave appropriately at the grownups’ table. Unfortunately, given the almost total lack of manners & common courtesy in society & on the internet today, that’s probably wishful thinking. Too bad.

          • IIWIICUB

            of course it’s more complex than that and of course they’ve jumped through all the hoops mr/mrs important attorney person! sorry for not wanting to get bogged down in the details of this fascinating discourse timmeh, but i’ve cited the feasibility studies already and alluded to them in my comments on this page multiple times. i didn’t know you had any sensibilities at all though, b/c just about everything you’ve said here is senseless bitterness, and i mean that in the most objective sense possible.

            but let’s not get it twisted- the vitriol was yours to begin with and i just happened to respond in kind.

            and of course the women get to use the new facilities. you’d know that if you did the tiniest bit of fact-finding before spouting off (or read the links i’ve cited to, in the least), but since you haven’t it almost makes me think that you’re complaining b/c you like to complain.

            but here’s the information from my last point- the information that dispels your most glaring points of contention, the information that you’ve conveniently ignored in order to attack me personally:

            PRIORITIES BY UNIT:

            health sciences: 2 billion
            professional schools: 1.362 billion
            college of letters and science: 400M
            athletics: 260M

          • timinhi

            Well now, ya see, the problem with your lie–er, “argument,” is that if you look back at my original post, there is no “vitriol,” especially none directed at you. Since you seem to think you have the authority to give me reading assignments and I’m somehow obligated to read them even though I’m already quite familiar enough with the issues, I’ll give you one too: Go ahead– Read my original post– it’s still up there on the thread ^, even though I notice YOUR response has been “conveniently” deleted. Tell me where I was vitriolic toward you, or even to the facility project. Tell us all how my saying that the Pauley renovation is opulent and obviates the need for this project was in any way “vitriolic.” No, you don’t really have to. I’ll spoil it for you– THERE IS NO ‘VITRIOL.’ Perhaps you should consider the possibility you’re unaware of the definition of vitriol.
            Now– despite the fact you (or hopefully a moderator) saw to it that the evidence of YOUR vitriol has disappeared (By the way– I still have it. It was included in the email notification that was sent to me when you replied), a cursory review of your still-remaining posts above are glaring evidence of the rude, disrespectful, ill-mannered, etc. way you respond to perfectly polite posts from Spencer Jacobson, Nicholas Fandoran, and yes, me (Maybe it’s time to start editing/deleting those ones, too).
            Dude, you don’t need to be a jerk to get your point across. Grow up and clean up your act. I don’t mean this as an “attack’ on you, as you characterized it. Professional, intelligent, mature people shouldn’t address others the way you have here in forums like this one. I know that on most internet sites and in politics & society today, there’s a lot of anger manifested in name-calling and belittling of others. I would hope that on a UCLA (or other similar institution) site, we’d try to rise above that (with the obvious exception of dealing with ‘SC trolls). It’s fine to vehemently disagree with another idea or opinion, especially if your disagreement is well-reasoned (which isn’t always the same as “reasonable,” especially to the exclusion of all opposing ideas) and you have evidence to back up your position, which in fact, you DO here. But just because you have evidence, that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t or shouldn’t reach different conclusions from that evidence. People disagree. They have different values & priorities. Things are not always black & white or right & wrong. This happens to be one of those issues where reasonable, intelligent people will disagree. Don’t insult or disparage the person or even the idea. Just state why you disagree, and make your case. You make good points, and the basis of your argument is good, even if I disagree. My problem isn’t with the content, it’s the tone. That’s what I’m “attacking.” You may be the nicest person around, but you’re not displaying that here. And you’re not likely to persuade people to agree with you with the mean-spirited tone. you’re just going to make them dig in and shut your ideas out.

          • IIWIICUB

            i’m sorry i took a tone that didn’t sit well with you. i just happen to be fairly passionate about the subject and when i think someone’s opinion is obnoxious or unreasonable and that they’re being very stubborn with the manner they’re zealously presenting it then i go in attack mode. not saying it’s right, but it happens when you keep throwing one complaint (or whatever more appropriate/ less demeaning word works for you) after another at the wall just to see what sticks when it seems like you yourself can’t possibly believe half of them.

            (complaints that you didn’t have from the beginning, or that only manifested themselves b/c of assertions i made, or that were once important that have become less important b/c of things i’ve said, while you ignored the more important parts of my discussion when it was convenient).

            but i knew i was never going to change your mind on this issue so there was no need to sugarcoat anything for you.

            so i’m sorry things got more heated than i would have liked. goodbye.

  • Asgf C

    So UCLA daily bruin is telling private donors how to spend their money.

    You know what donors hate? When you criticize their donations.

    Basketball is a huge part of UCLA history and its brand, and we have not won a championship for almost 20 years. Investments into the program will pay off. Just look at the football team.

  • IIWIICUB

    please consider getting just a few facts straight before you comment next time, timmeh. and please tell me how our “academic souls” have been adversely affected by athletic spending in the slightest b/c i’d love to hear about that? (not to mention that in america, private donors can spend their money where they want to).

    the truth is that academics and research will always be paramount, but sports have played a major role in the rich tradition of ucla from the days of jackie robinson, to john wooden, to arthur ashe, and on and on. academic excellence and athletic superiority (First to 100!!!) is a big part of what makes ucla ucla, whether you like or not.

    but just a heads up, the area where the facility is going is already developed; it’s just being repurposed. easy mistake.

    and yes, recruiting top talent requires state of the art facilities and other perks. developing that talent requires access to the courts w/o scheduling time with the rest of campus, etc. pauley was renovated for the entire school’s use. this is for the basketball team.

    so i’m sorry your bitterness and jealousy are getting in the way of you thinking clearly about this. sorry other students get more than you. just glad the project is moving forward whether you like it or not.

    • timinhi

      Wow. It only took you a month or two to compose your beautiful snotty response. Don’t presume to lecture me on yhe history of athletics at UCLA. I suspect my personal history with UCLA much predates yours, and I may well have been camping out in front of Pauley before you ever drew a breath.

      Perhaps I did make the “easy mistake” of misidentifying the exact location of the proposed project– from the article, it sounded like the area was predominately the area surrounding and bordering the tennis center, if memory serves (and no, I’m not going to reread it at this late juncture– it’s not a particularly important point).

      “Bitterness & jealousy?” You don’t know the first thing about me. Please– tell me exactly how our hoops program (one that consistently makes the postseason, finishes deep in the NCAAs often enough to make most schools drool, regularly is a top-10 recruiter, now has one of the premier facilities in the WORLD, etc., etc., etc.) has suffered without this oh-so-necessary “basketball facility” that seems geared purely toward attracting high school recruits in a sport in which the norm is that if they truly ARE “blue chippers,” are most likely going to be one-&-dones anyway?

      The likelihood of UCLA ever even coming close to recapturing the past glory of the Wooden years is so remote that unnecessarily throwing hundreds of millions of dollars more at the program is a fool’s errand– especially if it results in the diminishing or ruining of the Olympic tennis facility. Building this redundant palace isn’t going to win the recruiting wars with powerhouses with much lower academic standards like Kentucky & Louisville, especially if that’s measured in the automatic expectation that it’s going to result in numerous more national championships.

      And this idea that competition for use of Pauley with “the rest of the campus” is hurting basketball is a fiction too. They basically share the facility with women’s hoops & men’s volleyball in season, and men’s hoops has priority AND there are already other facilities on campus for those other programs to practice in when men’s hoops bumps them from Pauley. The only practicality that is being served by this unneeded facility is that the football team is getting THEIRS so now the hoops program doesn’t want to feel like they’re getting short-shrifted. That’s not a good reason to build this white elephant.

      As much as we all appreciate the lagacy of athletic excellence at UCLA (Yes, even I do), sports idolatry has gotten way out of control in our society, and it’s had its most destructive effect on our universities, to the point where football & men’s hoops have become scandal-ridden multibillion dollar minor league farm systems, provided free of charge to the NFL & NBA. With some of the statements from “student athletes” coming out in O’Bannon case and the Northwestern labor union case in which they’ve testified basically that they’re not “really” students, I fear that UCLA is slipping back to the days before the university enacted its own reforms in the wake of the Billy Don Jackson scandal. We don’t need another NCAA scandal. We don’t have to be like ‘SC or now Oregon just in the name of keeping up. We shouldn’t be lowering our standards just for additional banners. That is something Coach Wooden wouldn’t have stood for, and I doubt he would’ve thought this facility was necessary after the Pauley renovation either. The vast, VAST majority of Div. 1 programs don’t have comparable facilities, so who are we competing with, anyway? Get YOUR facts straight, before angrily insulting someone just because they happen to disagree with your world view.

      • IIWIICUB

        i won’t have to lecture you if chose to think about the situation a little bit more reasonably and try to see the big picture a little bit more clearly here, timmeh.

        not particularly important???? it was the lead point of contention in your cute little diatribe!! hahahha. but i guess that’s what happens when someone wants to complain and there isn’t really much to complain about…

        but getting to the postseason and making a few sweet 16′s is fine for some schools, but ucla has higher standards, now doesn’t it? academic excellence and athletic superiority is what makes ucla ucla. we’ve been over this, but i’m sorry that you continue to have a problem with it. we get the best of both worlds here.

        but sure, ucla is never going to win 7 national titles in a row again- nobody will. but thanks to generous private donors, we’re getting the infrastructure in place to be compete for them going forward.

        (ucla isn’t battling kentucky and louisville for recruits necessarily, though it can happen from time to time, but since we just have no chance to compete i guess we should tell duke to close up shop too?)

        you keep talking about wasteful spending but refuse to address the fact that it’s not your money and that private donors can do what they want with their money? that’s kind of an important issue, timmeh. (unlike the exact location of the project, which was an important issue, but now it’s not, this one still is).

        so far you’ve given me “blah blah blah, yes, i was wrong about this when i was trying to complain but what about this other thing and blah blah blah”

        you also keep trying to lump ucla in with the VAST MAJORITY of D1 programs, but were are ucla and we have higher standards. elite teams have dedicated practice facilities. academic excellence. athletic superiority. i’ve said it from the beginning.

        so you’re worried about scandals? standards being lowered? b/c we’re building a practice facility? you mean you’re pulling things out of a hat and hoping they stick b/c you really just want to complain and you’re bitter/ have issues with college sports in general? we’ve been over that, too.

        it turns out your issues aren’t with this facility at all and instead they’re with college sports in general. that’s fine. let it all out. you’ll feel much better. best of luck to you.