Friday, October 19

Future of Jackie Robinson Stadium unclear after court settlement

The original version of this article contained information that was inaccurate and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.

The future of Jackie Robinson Stadium, home to UCLA baseball, is unclear after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs settled a lawsuit Wednesday that alleged the baseball stadium and other facilities on the West Los Angeles VA campus are misuses of the land.

The lawsuit, filed in 2011 by the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed the VA illegally leased portions of its campus, west of the 405 Freeway near UCLA, to entities unrelated to its mission of providing veteran health care and support. The entities include UCLA Athletics, a television studio and a rental car company.

There were about 6,250 homeless veterans in Los Angeles in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

UCLA, the VA and other groups will work together on a new master plan for the campus as part of the settlement, said UCLA spokesperson Tod Tamberg. The master plan is expected to include increased housing facilities for homeless veterans, though no specific plans have been made for the baseball stadium’s future, Tamberg said.

The 1,820-seat baseball stadium has been home to UCLA baseball since it opened in 1981, and the team has played its games on VA property for more than 50 years.

Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement Wednesday that UCLA applauded the lawsuit’s outcome because the university thinks it should work with the VA to improve veterans’ services.

“The issue is really about working in partnership with the VA,” Tamberg said. “We’re not there to set any preconditions for them. The focus is on the veterans and the most healing veterans, especially … homeless veterans.”

University officials in the past have criticized the lawsuit. In 2013, UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero called it “especially disappointing” because of UCLA’s support of the VA and veterans in areas such as health care, volunteering and employment.

Officials from the VA and other groups are expected to complete the new master plan in October. Tamberg said he could not speculate on whether UCLA baseball will stay at the facility or potential alternate stadiums the team could play at if UCLA is forced to vacate the stadium.

Compiled by Sam Hoff, Bruin senior staff.

Clarification: Tamberg said he could not speculate on whether UCLA baseball will stay at the Jackie Robinson Stadium or potential stadiums the team could play at if forced to move.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.