Word From Westwood - April 10, 2012Athletic Director Dan Guerrero's weekly blog takes you inside UCLA Athletics.
April 10, 2012
UCLA has always prided itself on its legacy in our many women's sports, and rightfully so, as we have been one of the leaders in this area since the beginning. We began competing in AIAW women's sports in the early 1970's, and our teams have always been among the nation's elite, first in the AIAW and now in the NCAA. UCLA's women's program began in 1973-74, and scholarships began with Ann Meyers in 1974-75.
Some of our women's teams in sports such as volleyball, softball, track & field, water polo and gymnastics are considered among the best of all time. Many of our individuals are synonymous with excellence in women's athletics.
With the 40th anniversary of the implementation of Title IX on a national stage approaching this June, we as a department are launching a look back at our women's sports history, beginning next Monday (April 16) and continuing through a celebration next November 10 in connection with the opening weekend of the new Pauley Pavilion.
As just one small part of the content our staff has created around Title IX, we have produced a short video on Ann Meyers and have entered it into a contest sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. If you have some time, please watch the video below to check out the tribute we have put together:
For more details on the Title IX initiative here at UCLA, please be sure to visit UCLABruins.com often in the coming weeks and months.
Scates Coaches Final Regular Season Home Match
Speaking of history, I, along with more than 1,800 fans, was honored to be a part of history on Saturday night at the Wooden Center when we retired Men's Volleyball Coach Al Scates' #50 UCLA jersey after the match against BYU. As many of you already know, it was the last regular-season home match of Al's illustrious 50-year career as our head coach and, with more than 100 alumni representing each of the six decades in which he has coached here, it truly was a special moment. For those unable to make it to the match, please click here for the short video tribute that we played during the post-match ceremony.
Spring Ball Off and Running
With week one of spring practice in the books, Jim Mora and the UCLA Football team return to Spaulding Field this week to continue where they left off. Each time I have been out there during practice, I must say the sheer numbers of fans in attendance, as well as their enthusiasm was just awesome. This was especially true on Saturday when Bruin fans of all ages packed the bleachers to see our boys put on the pads for the first time this year. If you decide to come out again this week, bring a friend; Spring Ball fever is spreading.
Mora Makes His Rounds This Month
Speaking of Jim Mora, he will be making stops in various areas throughout the Southland to meet and speak to the Bruin faithful in the coming weeks. The next two events on his calendar are scheduled for April 23 (in downtown LA) and April 25 (in Pasadena) and are hosted by the Wooden Athletic Fund and the UCLA Alumni Association. For more details on either of these events, or if you have questions, please visit WoodenAthleticFund.com.
Spring Game Day to Feature Lady Bruins Football Clinic
I am pleased to announce that we will be continuing another tradition in conjunction with the Spring Game this year at the Rose Bowl. Female fans of UCLA Football will have the chance to learn strategies from Head Coach Jim Mora at the Lady Bruins Football 101 clinic that afternoon, prior to the game. Registration is already open, so visit UCLABruins.com for details or to sign up.
Thank-a-Thon Wraps Up
More than 100 student-athletes from sports across our program recently wrapped-up personal phone calls to many of you as part of the annual Thank-a-Thon, where each and every individual who supports the Wooden Athletic Fund, regardless of donor level, is acknowledged by the student-athletes who benefit from their generous donations. This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to reach out and thank those donors who contribute to UCLA Athletics and the Wooden Athletic Fund, which helps fund expenses such as scholarships, facilities, equipment, and travel.
Cantlay Leaves His Mark on Augusta National
Men's golfer Patrick Cantlay played in his first Masters over the weekend and made us all very proud. The sophomore, the first UCLA amateur to ever make the 36-hole cut, was the low amateur in the field, finishing his four rounds tied for 47th place at seven-over par 295. It was great to see him spending some time in Butler Cabin with the winner and hearing the kind words CBS's Jim Nantz had for him and our program. Congratulations, Patrick!
Women's Rowing Makes Great Strides
One UCLA team that doesn't receive a lot of column inches in newspapers and magazines but deserves an acknowledgement in this forum is the women's rowing team. We re-started this program 10 years ago with the vision of one day being able to compete with the nation's elite and, with the #3 ranking in the latest poll (the highest in school history) entering the SoCal Challenge this weekend, gives us confidence that the team is certainly on the right track. Kudos to head coach Amy Fuller Kearney, her assistant coaches, and all the student-athletes over the course of the last decade who worked tirelessly to make this goal a reality.
Olympic Sports Report
With all of the spring sports teams now into the meat of their season, here are a few quick updates:
*Softball (#13) hosts Stanford for three midweek games before traveling to Washington for the weekend
*#1 Women's Golf competes in the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate early next week
*Women's Tennis, also top-ranked nationally, heads north for matches against both Bay Area schools
*Men's Tennis (#5) hosts Stanford Friday and Cal Saturday at LATC
*Women's Water Polo (#1) stays close to home for conference matches at UC Irvine and LMU
*Men's Volleyball (#3) wraps up the MPSF regular season with a road trip to Stanford and Pacific
*#11 Baseball hosts Cal State Fullerton Tuesday night before embarking on a mission to Tucson this weekend
*Men's Golf (#4) competes in Santa Cruz at the Western Intercollegiate this weekend
*The Track and Field teams host the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational at Drake Stadium Apr. 12-14
*Gymnastics takes the weekend off after earning the #2 seed at next weekend's NCAA Championship
Ask Dan Guerrero
Q:Dan, is there anything the athletic department is doing to monitor and regulate the social media activities of the student-athletes that represent UCLA? The NCAA seems to be cracking down on this more and I think we need to watch it carefully.
A: Social media is having an increasingly profound impact on all of society today, and that is especially true in the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics. Given their relative young age and extremely easy access to technology, college students are among the earliest and most fervent adopters of any new media, and student-athletes are no different.
The NCAA is indeed paying close attention to the social media activities of student-athletes nationwide, as evidenced by its recent investigation into the University of North Carolina, an inquiry that was actually sparked by the tweet of a Tar Heel student-athlete.
At UCLA, we have made it clear to each of our more than 700 student-athletes that when they post something irresponsible online, they can not only damage their own reputations, but also those of their families, the team that they represent, and that of the university, not to mention potentially breach compliance rules.
To that end, many universities and athletic programs track the social media activities of student-athletes, with the recognition and understanding that there will be some missteps along the way. Educating our student-athletes thoroughly about social media and its pratfalls and empowering them to make the right decisions in this space is an important process and is something that several members of our athletic department staff (from a wide variety of units within the department) have done and will continue to do. For us, it is very important to keep in mind the students' right to self-expression, and balance that with the fact that they not only represent themselves, but also our entire university.
We will continue to evolve our student-athlete social media education program as new forms of social media continue to come online.
Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to email@example.com this week.