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Klee blog: The Pac-12's newest fans... FBI and President Trump?

By: Paul Klee
November 15, 2017 Updated: November 15, 2017 at 1:07 pm
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photo - UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, left, LiAngelo Ball, right, and Jalen Hill, background center, are surrounded by the media as they leave the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles. The three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting returned home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, left, LiAngelo Ball, right, and Jalen Hill, background center, are surrounded by the media as they leave the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles. The three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting returned home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) 

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for the Pac-12's image as America's renegade conference, here comes UCLA with a message.

Hold my sunglasses. 

Hey, Larry Scott: Get a grip on your league. The Pac-12 is out of control. Its newest followers are the FBI and the President of the United States. Unless they're picking a bracket on Sportscenter, that's rarely a good thing.

The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the league's preseason men's basketball poll — Arizona and USC — began the 2017-18 season in a cloud of shame. Thanks to the FBI's investigation, Arizona and USC are being outed as cheaters.

Arizona held its season opener without two assistant coaches (one facing federal charges, one with a run-of-the-mill NCAA violation) and one veteran player (NCAA violation). Meantime, USC had an assistant coach indicted on federal bribery charges. Is this college athletics or Law & Order?

Oh, but the Bruins weren't about to be out-embarrassed. Sam Gilbert thinks UCLA has a reputation to uphold. Their future's so bright they had to steal shades. Next thing you know, Donald Trump is saving their backside by bailing out UCLA's alleged criminals from China's legal system.

Now the president wants a thank you. The Bruins should give him one.

Then they should boot the three players out of the basketball program.

In this neck of the Pac-12 woods, the Buffs are just playing solid, promising basketball. How boring, right? CU's wins against UNC and DU don't look all that impressive on the surface. But Tad Boyle has seven freshmen, and when you have seven freshmen, opening the season with two games against in-state programs can be a recipe for disaster. If you've seen the Buffs play — hard and spirited, with a nod toward bulldog freshman McKinley Wright — you know it's the best start the baby Buffs could've envisioned.

So they'll take it.

UCLA would take it, too, just not legally.

The "Conference of Champions" needs to get its act together.

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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