During the Golden State-Minnesota broadcast on Wednesday night, ESPN NBA color commentator Jeff Van Gundy blasted the Pac-12 for its decision to send UCLA and Georgia Tech to China for an early-season college basketball game.
Jeff Van Gundy goes on rant to blast the Pac-12 and NCAA for sending UCLA and Georgia Tech to play in China pic.twitter.com/gygjPudlOf
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 9, 2017
In the wake of the scandal that saw freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hall arrested for shoplifting , Van Gundy felt the need to vent to his play-by-play partner Dave Patsch, who is a regular on Pac-12 broadcasts, most notably when paired with Bill Walton.
Van Gundy’s contempt was seemingly more at the situation itself, than any one entity in particular, but was specifically outraged that the players would be taking an overseas trip and miss a bunch of class time.
“You know what’s bugging me? Why is UCLA and Georgia Tech in China to play a basketball game, missing all that school, and then force-feeding their fans the idea of ‘student-athletes.’ And if it’s such a cultural excursion, what’s UCLA doing in the Louis Vitton sunglass section? They can do that in Beverly Hills.”
Apparently, already knowing what he thinks is the answer to his question, Van Gundy then said, “I’ll tell you what it is… money. They’re trying to sell… something… to get more money.”
He then directed his criticism toward the school for not providing chaperones for 18-year-old college freshmen.
“And can we not allow them to walk around by themselves? Can we have them walk with an adult so we don’t have these incidents that are so embarrassing?”
Van Gundy of course failed to mention the previous Pac-12 China games that went off without incident, provided the players and coaches a chance to briefly experience another culture, and helped promote the league to a new global audience.
However, it seems that in the wake of the scandal, and the report that they players may have to spend up to a month in the country as the incident is adjudicated, even an NBA analyst will have an opinion.
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