UCLA athletic director: ‘No question’ Pac-12 made right decision to cancel tournament
Departing from a meeting with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and the conference’s other athletic directors on Thursday morning, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero speculated the NCAA could decide later in the day whether it would stage its national basketball tournament.
“If you were to look at what’s happening … across the board of professional sports, international sports, amateur sports, most are making the decision to not continue to play,” Guerrero said. “Where the NCAA will ultimately wind up with that remains to be seen. It could happen as soon as today, I would imagine. But when you look at what’s occurring every place else, it would be interesting to see if they chose to do something differently.”
Guerrero said there was “no question” the Pac-12 made the right decision to cancel the men’s conference tournament. UCLA entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed and was scheduled to play California at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
“When you begin to look at what’s happening nationally and decisions that are being made at other Power Five conferences and things of that nature, there’s an alignment of vision that typically occurs in situations like this, where the individuals that are involved — CEOs, presidents, ADs — have to make the responsible decision,” Guerrero said.
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At the same time, he said he was disappointed for coach Mick Cronin’s team, which won 11 of its last 14 games.
“It’s devastating in so many respects — in every respect, when you think about it,” Guerrero said. “The health and safety of our community is the most important thing and the ramifications impact student-athletes that are very close to us, that we’re with every day. Their dreams and aspirations, in many respects, have to come to a halt. And that’s hard for many to reconcile at this point, though everyone understands why. The why is certainly the bigger picture and the why makes sense, but that does not mean that isn’t a tough situation for everyone involved.”
Asked about the financial ramifications of scrapping the Pac-12 tournament, Guerrero replied, “I couldn’t tell you the specifics. You would have to talk to the conference office.”
With the Pac-12 joining several other conferences in canceling its men’s basketball tournament, the scrapping of the NCAA tournament feels inevitable.
Of the process that resulted in the call to cancel the conference tournament, Guerrero said: “Decisions of this nature are typically made in consultation with the major players in a particular conference, which would include athletic directors, CEOs, conference leadership and, in some respects, there will be consultation with the members of the conference council, if you will, which include the faculty athletic reps, senior women’s administrators.
“Because the implications are far-reaching. It’s not just about games. It’s about practices. It’s about camps and clinics. It’s about recruiting. It’s who stays on campus, who doesn’t stay on campus and what are the implications of that. There’s so many variables that come into play and one decision could have an implication on another.”
Guerrero said Scott has been in communication with the NCAA “to make a determination on how to proceed on a number of fronts.”
All of UCLA’s upcoming sporting events have been canceled until further notice.
“We’re actually in a pretty good place, in terms of what’s our perspective on this. We’re clearly of the mindset that our students’ welfare is the most important thing and as hard as it is for many of our students and our coaches who have worked so hard, we’ll make the decisions that need to be made in order to protect our kids,” Guerrero said.
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