AN IRREVERENT LOOK AT ALL THINGS SAID, CONSIDERED, TWEETED, POSTED, PHOTOGRAPHED, PLAYED AND OTHERWISE GONE AMUCK IN COLLEGE SPORTS

This just in from the Broken Coverage news desk: Three UCLA basketball players, pinched for shoplifting in China, have been suspended indefinitely.

First reaction: Wrong! Whiff!

Second reaction: If the Pac 12 was trying to hide this news by putting it on the the seldom-seen Pac 12 Network, well, it didn’t work. The “news” conference featuring UCLA Coach Steve Alford and the players hit Twitter like a new Miley Cyrus dance move.

Second reaction to first reaction: Until last week, I thought the low point in recent UCLA basketball history was the Bruins losing to Princeton in the NCAA Tournament. This tops that. The Chinese escapades may mark the low point in the history of UCLA athletics. Or at least since Billy Don Jackson. Or the handicap parking spot fiasco. So, of course, the university (for now) chickened out. “Suspended indefinitely” is the biggest cop-out in the front-office arsenal.  It suggests there is a path to redemption once all the facts have been gathered and analyzed. “Suspend indefinitely” is what Nebraska coach Tom Osborne did to Lawrence Phillips during the 1995 football campaign. Phillips, the team’s star tailback, had dragged his girlfriend down a stair case by her hair. Phillips learned the hard lessons you learn from that and was reinstated just in time to lead Nebraska to a national title win over Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.  Phillips never had another issue with a team or the law. Wait, that’s not right…

Look, I’m not for casting these UCLA players–LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, Jalen Hill–to the outer ring of hell. But I don’t think they should ever play basketball again at UCLA. They should have been kicked off the team but allowed to transfer to any school (that would take them) outside the Pac 12 conference.

Alford, instead, left open the possibility of the players returning before the start of Pac 12 play. “That timeline is yet to be determined,” he said.

UCLA basketball created an international incident and now is an international laughing stock. It took a government intervention to get the players freed from harsher treatment in China.

Hold your horses there, Mr. Prez.

The player needed to first land back on U.S. soil and fight off the paparazzi that greeted their plane when it landed Tuesday night at LAX. All three players DID thank the President from sparing them the agony of breaking rocks in the hot sun for….10 years? Wow. UCLA should give Trump front-row seats at Pauley Pavilion.

The players also needed a little time to have scripts written for them by UCLA front-office honchos.

“I would also also like to thank President Trump and the United States Government for the help that they provided,” LiAngelo Ball, one of the Shanghai Three, said at Wednesday’s press conference. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.