Larry Farmer, a proud member of the tradition-rich UCLA basketball program since 1969, says he doesn't think the school will suffer long-range effects from being placed on probation for two years by the NCAA.
"I am very saddened by this," said the former standout forward of the Bill Walton era, who was an assistant coach for several years at UCLA before becoming head coach this season. "But I won't let it dampen my enthusiasm for the season.
"I don't think this will affect our recruiting because the players coming in next year will be able to participate in the tournament."
The NCAA finally made public, in a six-page news release, that it is placing UCLA on probation for numerous violations. However, the second year is strictly a reprimand and the Bruins will be eligible for postseason tournaments.
Among the violations cited were the selling of tickets by the players for more than face value, free use of cars, cash payments for the players, lodging and meals for the recruits' relatives and providing reduced apartment rentals.
In addition to being ineligible for the national championship this season, the Bruins also must return the second-place trophy from the 1980 NCAA tournament, but not the money received.
Since two players who participated in that tournament were ineligible, UCLA's performance records will be deleted, the second-place finish voided, and the team trophy and the ineligible students' awards returned.
The NCAA also said that UCLA must disassociate one representative of its athletic interests from participating in any recruiting activities on behalf of the university.
Although no names were mentioned in the report, Charles E. Young, UCLA's chancellor, went out of his way at today's press conference to defend Sam Gilbert, a Los Angeles real estate figure long associated with the basketball players.
"I will not comment on the names of the ineligible players," said Young, "but there is one person whose name has been mentioned in connection with this investigation and that is Sam Gilbert.
"Mr. Gilbert and his wife have been associated with UCLA athletes for a long time and have taken a very special interest in them as students and people. They served as advisers, counselors and even surrogate parents to some.
"When anyone is involved, events are going to occur which are violations in spirit, if not in fact. In my opinion, the acts of Mr. Gilbert were out of concern for the students, but we can't have relations with people who engage in any actions deemed in violation of NCAA rules."
Gilbert today denied participation in each of the violations cited by the NCAA -- ticket scalping by the players, cash payments to the players, free use of cars and reduced apartment rentals.
"Sam Gilbert has done what he did substantially on his own," Young said. "His primary interest is to the individual, not the program.
"I don't believe the booster clubs have gotten out of hand," Young said in response to a question. "The car discounts and housing discounts were minor, in my opinion. These violations are the result of inadequate policing on our part. We have been working for some time to make changes within the department that will drastically reduce the chances of this reoccurring."