Newsletter: The Sports Report: Jump to Big Ten helped preserve UCLA Olympic sports

UCLA huddles before a Women's College World Series game against Northwestern on June 3 in Oklahoma City.
UCLA huddles before a Women’s College World Series game against Northwestern on June 3 in Oklahoma City.
(Alonzo Adams / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is on vacation and likely waiting for his neighbors to stop setting off fireworks. Let’s get right to the news.

From Ben Bolch: It was a splashy move with a quiet beneficiary.

Given its perilous athletic department finances, UCLA faced the prospect of cutting sports had the school not agreed to bolt for the Big Ten Conference.

The timing isn’t certain and the number of teams that would have been affected isn’t known, but the Bruins were headed toward an Olympic sports Armageddon without the infusion of cash that will accompany its departure from the Pac-12 Conference in 2024.

Now its 25 teams and more than 700 athletes can exhale knowing that their futures have been secured, making those cross-country flights and frigid midwinter temperatures in Big Ten country far more bearable.

“If you love Olympic sports, you should be a fan of this move,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond told The Times on Tuesday. “When your program is in significant debt, it’s difficult just to maintain, never mind to invest. This not only preserves the programs now — which was not a given — but also will allow us to invest in them. This move allows us to reimagine what UCLA athletics can be with more strategic investment and resources.”



George Kliavkoff got burned by USC and UCLA. Now he’s chasing a Pac-12 miracle

USC athletic director Mike Bohn has a history of punching first in realignment fights

Breaking down what a move to the Big Ten means for UCLA and USC Olympic sports

Full coverage: USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 to join Big Ten

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From Steve Henson: Let’s play build a bullpen. The Dodgers planned on populating theirs at some point with these relievers, veterans all:

Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, Caleb Ferguson, Jimmy Nelson, Victor González, Danny Duffy and Tommy Kahnle.

Today they all populate the injured list.

Dodgers teammates share a laugh in the dugout before taking on the Colorado Rockies
Dodgers teammates share a laugh in the dugout before taking on the Colorado Rockies Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Figure in the three starters out with injuries — Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Andrew Heaney — and it’s flabbergasting that the Dodgers still boast the best pitching in the National League.

By far.

The Dodgers’ team earned-run average after a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night was 2.94. The next-lowest ERA among NL teams was the San Diego Padres’ 3.60. The Dodgers have given up the fewest hits and issued the fewest walks in the league. Opponents are batting a feeble .220 against them.


From Dan Woike: The Lakers are adding center Thomas Bryant in free agency, sources told The Times. Bryant, 24, spent his rookie season with the team after being selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft.

Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) scores against the Atlanta Hawks during the 2022 season.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Bryant is expected to compete for a spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup, sources said.

When healthy, Bryant has shown the ability to be a stretch-five, making more than 40% of his three-point tries in limited action during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.


From Andrew Greif: Jason Preston opened eyes during pickup games last fall with his passing and playmaking — until he suffered a serious foot injury. Then it was the point guard’s turn to watch.


Spending his entire rookie season sidelined wasn’t without benefits. He gained 15 pounds of muscle along with countless pointers from coaches and teammates who fielded his unending questions. None of it, however, compared with learning while doing.

DENVER, CO - MARCH 22: Jason Preston #17 of the LA Clippers walks off the court.
The Clippers’ Jason Preston walks off the court during a game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on March 22.
(Isaiah Vazquez / Clarkson Creative / Getty Images)

Three weeks after the Clippers’ season ended in April’s play-in tournament came the moment for which Preston had waited more than seven months — five-on-five basketball without any restrictions on his play.

“It was awesome,” Preston said. “Just being able to grab a rebound, throw a pass, hit somebody on the cut, shoot a floater, do that in live settings, because a lot of the stuff I just do is in the half-court and one-on-one stuff.

“So it was amazing.”


From Helene Elliott: One by one, Rob Blake is checking off milestones that represent the significant progress the Kings have made in their rebuilding process.

Find a second-line center to back up Anze Kopitar and take the pressure off young prospects? The Kings’ general manager checked that off last summer by signing Phillip Danault, who was better than advertised. Get the Kings to the playoffs so young players can taste the unique urgency of postseason hockey? Done and done in a seven-game loss to Edmonton that was, by many measures, a win for a team that lacked several injured stars.

Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) plays against the Nashville Predators during the 2022 season.
(Mark Zaleski / Associated Press)

Blake filled in a major gap among his top six forwards last week, when he acquired left wing Kevin Fiala from Minnesota for the rights to defense prospect Brock Faber and a first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft. That leaves the Kings without a first-round selection in the draft, which will take place Thursday and Friday in Montreal, but the timing and Fiala’s potential after career-best totals in goals (33) and points (85) made it a potentially high-reward move. Fiala can do more for them now than a No. 19 pick would have.

“I think when we knew we had an opportunity to get a player of Kevin’s caliber that took the forefront right away. And we were going to make sure we got that in place because that would be the biggest improvement to our team,” Blake said Tuesday in his first comments since completing the trade and signing Fiala to a seven-year contract with an average annual value/cap hit of $7.875 million.


From the Associated Press : Sandy Alcantara pitched eight dominant innings in his second straight win, and the Miami Marlins beat the Angels 2-1 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Alcantara (9-3) gave up two hits — singles by Luis Rengifo in the fifth and Mike Trout in the seventh — in his 11th consecutive outing of at least seven innings. The right-hander struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 1.82.

The Angels' Mike Trout draws a walk during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins Tuesday.
(Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

“I just try to stay consistent, go out there every fifth day and fight for my team,” Alcantara said. “Every time I can pitch seven, eight innings I feel satisfied. It’s a long career and you have to stay healthy.”

Tanner Scott earned his 10th save, surrendering Taylor Ward’s sacrifice fly before retiring Jared Walsh on a liner to center for the final out.

Garrett Cooper and Bryan De La Cruz homered for Miami. Joey Wendle had two hits.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly considered giving Alcantara the opportunity for consecutive complete games. But with a prolonged bottom of the eighth, which included a pitching change, Alcantara was done after 107 pitches.

“It’s hard because Sandy is your best guy no matter where you are,” Mattingly said.

Trout snapped an 0-for-16 skid with his infield single leading off the seventh. The three-time AL MVP struck out in his first two at-bats against Alcantara.


From Sam Farmer: Rafael Nadal has never won the Grand Slam, clinching all four major championships in the same calendar year, something that has been done three times on the men’s side (twice by Rod Laver and once by Don Budge). Now, Nadal is more than halfway there on attaining No. 3 at Wimbledon.

He won the Australian Open and French Open, and would advance to the Wimbledon semifinals with a victory Wednesday over Taylor Fritz of Rancho Palos Verdes. Fritz beat Nadal in the finals of the PNB Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March.

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to the Netherland's Botic Van De Zandschulp at Wimbledon on Monday.
(Alberto Pezzali / Associated Press)

If Nadal wins, it keeps alive the potential for another Sunday showdown with Novak Djokovic. They have played each other a record 59 times, including in the finals of all four major championships.

But if Fritz wins, he would advance to the semifinals and have a chance to become the first American man in the Wimbledon finals since Andy Roddick in 2009. Of course, those are two awfully steep hills to climb.

“I try to just approach it like how I did last time, treat it like any other match because I’ve been playing well,” Fritz said. “It’s about kind of just replicating the way I’ve been playing and trusting that that will be enough.”


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This date in sports

1887 — Lottie Dod of Britain, 15, becomes the youngest woman to win the women’s singles championship at Wimbledon, defeating Blanch Bingley 6-2, 6-0.

1933 — The first major league All-Star game is played at Comiskey Park, Chicago. The American League beats the National League 4-2 on Babe Ruth’s two-run homer.

1957 — Althea Gibson becomes the first black to win a title at the All England Lawn Tennis Club by beating Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2 in the women’s singles title match.


1968 — Billie Jean King wins her third consecutive women’s singles title at Wimbledon by beating Australia’s Judy Tegart 9-7, 7-5.

1975 — Ruffian, an undefeated filly, and Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure compete in a match race. Ruffian, racing on the lead, sustains a severe leg injury and is pulled up by jockey Jacinto Vasquez. She is humanely destroyed the following day.

1994 — Leroy Burrell breaks the world record in the 100 meters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Burrell’s time of 9.85 seconds betters Carl Lewis’ 9.86 clocking set in the 1991 World Championships.

1996 — Steffi Graf beats Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 7-5 in the Wimbledon final for the German star’s 20th Grand Slam title and 100th tournament victory.

1997 — Pete Sampras wins the fourth Wimbledon title and 10th Grand Slam title of his career, easily defeating Frenchmen Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

1998 — Twenty-year-old Se Ri Pak becomes the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion after hitting an 18-foot birdie on the 20th extra hole to beat amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn in the longest Women’s Open in history.


2000 — Venus Williams beats her younger sister Serena 6-2, 7-6 (3) to reach the Wimbledon final. Their singles match is the first between sisters in a Grand Slam semifinal.

2008 — Rafael Nadal ends Roger Federer’s bid to become the first man since the 1880s to win a sixth consecutive championship at the All England Club. Two points from victory, the No. 1-ranked Federer succumbs to No. 2 Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 in a 4-hour, 48-minute test of wills that’s the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history — and quite possibly the greatest.

2013 — Twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan capture their fourth straight major with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo at Wimbledon. The Americans become the first men’s team in Open-era tennis to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

2013 — Jimmie Johnson becomes the first driver in 31 years to sweep Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 winner is the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1982, and the fifth overall, to win both races in a season at Daytona.

2014 — Novak Djokovic wins his second Wimbledon title and denies Roger Federer his record eighth by holding off the Swiss star in five sets. Djokovic wastes a 5-2 lead in the fourth set but holds on for a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 victory.

2014 — Florida teen Kaylin Whitney breaks the world junior record by running the 200 meters in 22.49 seconds at the U.S. junior national track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. The 16-year-old Whitney broke the world 17-and-under mark of 22.58 set by Marion Jones in 1992.


2016 — Roger Federer’s bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title remains alive after he comes from two sets down and saves three match points before overcoming Marin Cilic in five sets, advancing to the semifinals at the All England Club for the 11th time. It’s the 10th time in Federer’s career he erases a two-set deficit to win in five sets. This is also his 80th match win at Wimbledon, equaling Jimmy Connors’ record.

2019 — Jorge Masvidal sets a UFC record with a KO of Ben Askren five seconds into their bout in Las Vegas.

And finally

Angels star Shohei Ohtani celebrates this 28th birthday this week. You’ve seen him hit and pitch at an elite level. Now watch this video of him juggling a soccer ball.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.