Over the past couple of days, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has taken a lot of heat from fans, coaches and even the commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference.
Colorado athletic director Rick George doesn’t like it, and on Thursday threw his support behind his colleague.
Earlier this month, the NCAA Division I council voted to ban college football satellite camps, with the Pac-12 one of six conferences voting for the ban. Guerrero cast the Pac-12’s vote, surprising many in the conference. In a previous vote, 11 of the Pac-12 schools — all but UCLA — were in favor of keeping the satellite camps.
On Wednesday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Guerrero, “did not vote the way he was supposed to vote.” That’s led many to blast Guerrero for looking out for the best interests of UCLA, and not the Pac-12.
George, who was with Guerrero and other ADs at a meeting Wednesday in Los Angeles, said the heat thrown on Guerrero is unfair.
“From my perspective as an AD in the conference, I wanted to come out and say that we respect Dan and Dan is a team player and he voted what he felt was best for the conference, not what was best for UCLA,” George said.
George said he was surprised initially to see that the Pac-12 voted to ban the camps, but last week Guerrero sent a letter to Pac-12 ADs explaining his vote.
Guerrero had gone to the council meeting believing the issue on satellite camps would be tabled, but it became clear that a vote would be done. Guerrero planned to vote against the ban, but learned that the ban would pass regardless of how he voted. At that point, Guerrero voted for the proposal that most closely resembled Pac-12 legislation.
“It’s unfair that people are coming out and bashing Dan, because Dan did what he felt was best for the conference when he got thrown those two scenarios,” George said. “Last week, after that vote came through, he sent us a note and said, ‘Here’s what happened,’ and we all respected that.”
That’s why George came to Guerrero’s defense on Thursday.
“What (Pac-12 ADs) can do is support Dan, because Dan is unfairly taking a lot of heat,” George said. “We can support him and that’s what I intend to do.”
George said he doesn’t have a problem with Guerrero’s vote, but he was disappointed in Scott’s comments.
“I thought it was unfortunate, because Dan is a really strong character guy,” George said. “I don’t think Larry meant anything malicious, but you have those conversations internally, not externally. I think if you have some issues within your family, you talk about them within your family.”
Pac-12 administrators are set to meet in May and George said, “I think there should be some discussion about (Scott’s comments), yeah. Will we have that discussion? We’ll see.”
Sun Belt Conference representative Larry Teis also cast a vote to ban to the camps, despite the majority of league schools wanting to keep them.
Overall, the council vote was 10-5 for the ban. Power Five conference votes are worth two points. Had Guerrero and Teis voted as their member schools wanted, the vote would have been 8-7 against the ban.
The vote earlier this month could get overturned on April 28 when the NCAA Division I board of directors meets.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.