Ticket offer weakens school spirit

editorial cartoon by Isela Peña
editorial cartoon by Isela Peña

Last year, the Bruins of the University of California, Los Angeles finished first in the Pacific 10 Conference. That earned them a spot in one of college football’s most prestigious games, the “Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl Game.

UCLA’s home stadium, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., is the site of the game. But when the Bruins met the Wisconsin Badgers on Jan. 1, 1999, the stadium was a sea of Wisconsin-red, rather than the blue and gold of UCLA. Final score: Wisconsin 38, UCLA 31.

Now, almost a year later, that game is affecting the University of La Verne community. UCLA, through the ULV Human Resources Department, has offered to ULV faculty, students and graduates tickets to UCLA home games for $35. In addition, students and graduates have the opportunity to purchase tickets in the UCLA student section.

But why did the UCLA Athletics Department make this offer, and why did La Verne accept it?

The answer to the first question is obvious. When UCLA played a bowl game in their home stadium, and the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Wisconsin, something had to change.

UCLA Athletics, most likely influenced by UCLA Athletics Director Peter Dalis, and probably Bruins head football coach Bob Toledo, wanted more bodies sitting in the stands, rooting for their team. They wanted to “increase the game-day atmosphere,” as one employee of UCLA Athletics said.

The reason Human Resources at La Verne accepted the offer is somewhat unclear, since ULV has its own football team, which also plays games on Saturdays. No one is accusing Human Resources of attempting to reduce attendance at La Verne games, but at a school where indifference runs rampant, where apathy is a way of life, this may just be one more thing that detracts from what is already a weak sense of school pride and spirit.

This season, led by coach Don Morel, the Leopards are attempting to put the last two seasons behind them and return La Verne to the winning ways it knew in the early 1990s. After Saturday’s 45-0 clobbering of Whittier College, ULV’s record stands at 2-0.

But football players, who put in hours upon hours of work, from summer days spent in the weight room to fall afternoons spent practicing and preparing, may feel insulted that their own school is essentially promoting another university.

Although La Verne may not compete against UCLA, or even at the same level, it is still somewhat in competition for football fans, and one thing to keep in mind is La Verne students can attend La Verne games free of charge.

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