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#pounditFriday, April 19, 2024

New reported detail emerges on UCLA flaking on NC State in Holiday Bowl

Martin Jarmond on the field

A new detail was reported on Wednesday regarding the extent to which UCLA flaked on NC State in the Holiday Bowl.

UCLA drew heavy criticism on Tuesday for pulling out of the bowl game 4.5 hours before the scheduled 5:00 pm PT kickoff. One of the biggest complaints had to do with the Bruins’ lack of transparency and communication regarding their situation.

NC State coach Dave Doeren said he felt lied to because the Bruins did not give them any heads up that they were having COVID issues before pulling the plug on the game. NC State did not learn about UCLA’s withdrawal from the game until around 12:30 pm PT the day of the game.

Worse yet, Pack Pride’s Cory Smith reported on Wednesday that the UCLA equipment team arrived at 10:00 am PT to pack up their locker room. He says the Holiday Bowl and NC State didn’t learn of UCLA’s withdrawal until a few hours later.

Smith says UCLA disputed that timeline. However, Smith insists he was told UCLA staffers were already exiting the stadium by the time NC State arrived.

UCLA’s statement regarding their withdrawal indicates they decided not to play not due to positive tests, but due to the school’s subjective protocol. UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said the team was ready to play on Monday but they decided not to play on Tuesday. He cited the desire to protect the health and safety of the players in not playing the game. That reasoning was met with criticism considering all the tourist activities the Bruins did ahead of the game despite the climbing COVID case count in California.

UCLA’s lack of communication and poor choices at every step in the bowl process are a negative reflection of the school and its athletic leadership. Once the school accepted the bowl bid, they should have made playing in the actual game a higher priority. If they didn’t plan to take the bowl game seriously or had that strict of protocol, they should have declined the bid and given the spot to another school. And once they knew they were having problems, they should have been more transparent and communicative with the involved parties instead of being secretive.

Photo: Oct 23, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond reacts during the game against the Oregon Ducks at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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