June 12, 2012
Graduation is always a special time on any college campus, and UCLA is clearly no exception.
This year, graduation will have a distinct and different feel within the Athletic Department. Whereas in past years, it has been our tradition to host a reception in the Morgan Center Press Room to celebrate our graduating Bruins, we will, for the first time, be conducting our very own graduation ceremony on Collins Court in the Wooden Center this Friday afternoon.
The first-time event will give our graduating student-athletes and their families a chance to celebrate their on and off-field accomplishments and will give the department one more chance to thank them for all they have done for UCLA to make us so proud.
I know from experience that many of the bonds of friendship they have made during their years here at UCLA will be with them forever. To be part of a team that represents a fine university such as ours is a wonderful accomplishment. As I think of all of our student-athletes who will be graduating, I am reminded of their freshman year and their first "official" day on campus. At each freshman orientation I take the opportunity to not only welcome them, but to remind them why they chose to attend our great university. It is an opportunity for me and my terrific staff to set the table for the journey that lies ahead, athletically and academically. I also tell them that among their group are future All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, conference champions and national champions, as well as professional athletes, Olympians and Rhodes Scholars.
When the 2012 graduating class walks across the stage at Collins Court, many of those predictions will have come true.
Next week, they are joining another larger team, the UCLA Alumni, and they should all be very proud of themselves for a job well done.
While many student-athletes don a cap and gown this week, there are several other happenings within the department, including:
Baseball Team Punches its Ticket to Omaha
After a magical regular season during which they won at least one game against every opponent they faced, never lost a midweek game and remain undefeated in postseason play to this point, the UCLA Baseball team travels to Omaha today for their second College World Series appearance in three years.
The Bruins are 47-14 on the year and enter the CWS riding a nine-game winning streak, thanks to great pitching, solid defense and some very timely hitting over the last three weeks. After sweeping TCU in the Super Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium last weekend, UCLA has outscored its opposition, 33-9, in its five NCAA postseason games this month.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the fans for coming out to the stadium these past couple of weeks to support the team. The 10th player was certainly in evidence during this time, especially during Saturday's clinching game, which was a sell-out.
Kudos to not only UCLA Head Coach John Savage and his coaching staff, but also to each of the student-athletes who have put in the countless hours to be successful at the highest level. I promise you that they will "grind for nine" and give it their best shot in the College World Series, beginning with their game against Stony Brook this Friday afternoon at 2 pm PT on ESPN2.
We look forward to seeing them continue their amazing run in Omaha. If you're interested in going to Omaha and need more information on tickets, please call the Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN or click here.
Men's and Women's Track Teams Place in Top 25 at NCAAs
Congratulations to the men's and women's outdoor track teams for their performances last weekend at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The men finished 17th overall, their best placement since a Top 10 finish in 2007, and the women were 21st, their best result since they were 16th in 2009.
On the men's side, Mike Woepse (second in pole vault), Alec Faldermeyer (third in hammer), and Marcus Nilsson (sixth in decathlon) each earned first-team All-America honors, while the 4x100m relay squad of Jamal Alston, Maxwell Dyce, R.J. Frasier and Laijon White earned second-team All-America honors after a 16th place finish, as did discus thrower Matthew Kosecki (10th). Derek Eager (javelin) and Dyce (200m) earned honorable mention All-America honors.
Meanwhile, a trio of women scored for the Bruins to earn first-team All-America honors. Turquoise Thompson finished second by a mere .06 seconds in the 400m hurdles, Ida Storm placed fifth in the hammer, and Kylie Price was seventh in the long jump. The 4x400m relay team of Ally Courtnall, Breyonna Hunter, Katie Reid and Tatum Souza earned honorable mention All-America honors.
The future bodes well for the track program in that none of the All-Americans are seniors, giving each team a very strong nucleus of talent entering the next school year, which will complement very strong incoming recruiting classes.
Women's Hoops Home Opener Now Set
Although the 2012-13 women's basketball schedule has not yet been finalized, I wanted to share with you in this forum that we have just confirmed that the Bruins will open their season at New Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, November 10 against San Diego State at 7 pm.
This will be an important date for women's sports on this campus, not only because of the women's basketball opener or the swim meet also scheduled for the same day, but because we will also be hosting a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX (passed into law in June of 1972) that afternoon, honoring many of our great female Bruins past and present in the Pavilion Club in New Pauley.
Pauley Pavilion is the ideal arena for this showcase, since this is the building that has hosted so many great memories for our women's sports teams, as well as women's sports in general.
We will make additional details on the event available as it gets closer, so please be sure to check UCLABruins.com for updates.
Mora's Kick-off Tour Concludes Next Week in San Diego
For those of you who may have missed it last week in this forum, just a gentle reminder that the final event on Head Football Coach Jim Mora's very successful spring speaking tour will be a week from today, Tuesday, June 19 at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego.
The reception will begin at 6 pm, and Coach Mora will get behind the microphone at about 7 pm. Tickets purchased before June 15 will cost $25, and, space permitting, tickets will be available at the door for $35. Please reserve your space today HERE.
Pac-12 Networks Launch Just Two Months Away
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 will be a watershed day for the Pac-12 Conference. Much has been made of the conference's television rights contract since it was signed more than a year ago, and the first signs of that deal will be clearly on display as we launch the Pac-12 Networks on that day.
As someone who has been on the front lines of this project since the initial stages, it is very exciting to be a part of what will be the biggest launch in cable television history (at least 40 million homes) and one that will revolutionize the way in which college sports are broadcast.
To see if your cable provider is currently signed up as a partner who carries the Pac-12 Networks, please click here to be directed to the channel locator.
Ask Dan Question of the Week
In order to watch Pac-12 programs, will the viewers have to pay separate subscription fees to program providers such as Direct TV, Dish, Comcast, or ATT-Universe?
A: Here is the latest information we have on distribution for the Pac-12 Networks, which are just over two months from launch. If you live within the Pac-12 geographical footprint (Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Nevada) and subscribe to one of the Pac-12 Networks' four current carriers (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House Networks), you will receive the Pac-12 Network that primarily features the teams in your area, but also includes nationally-televised live events and other content, as part of your basic TV programming.
If you live outside the Pac-12 region (e.g., New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, etc.) and receive your television programming through one of the same four carriers, you will likely be able to access the Pac-12 Networks national channel through your carrier's additional packages, such as a sports tier, which would likely require an additional fee. In addition, Pac-12 Networks subscribers will also have access to their carrier's TV Everywhere platform, meaning that they will be able to access all seven Pac 12 Networks on any device through their broadband service (computer, smartphone, tablet).
The Pac-12 Conference is currently in discussions with several other high-profile satellite providers who have expressed interest in carrying the Pac-12 Networks. Should the Pac-12 reach a distribution deal with any of these additional providers, the Conference will make information on said deals available as soon as they are completed. In the meantime, you should not hesitate to let your provider know that you are extremely interested in receiving Pac-12 Networks on your system.
Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to firstname.lastname@example.org this week.
Director of Athletics, UCLA