Report: UCLA program out of control
UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland said he was surprised by some of the revelations in a Sports Illustrated story that portrayed the program as being out of control.
The report, culled from interviews with a dozen players and staff members from the past four seasons, painted an ugly picture that included fistfights in practice, the use of drugs by alcohol by players – at times before practice – and instances of a player attempting to injure teammates without repercussions.
“Some (incidents) I had no knowledge about, some were taken out of context and some were not true,” Howland said.
The players quoted in the report pointed the finger at Howland and his lack of leadership for the spate of incidents.
“Obviously this is not a great day for our program or for me,” Howland said. “I’m responsible for this program and everything that happens in it. If there’s any need to make changes, I will make them.”
Howland, who was named coach at UCLA in 2003, led the school to five straight NCAA appearances, including three consecutive Final Fours from 2005-2008.
He admitted to making mistakes regarding some players but said he remained confident of his ability to direct the program.