LBS- “There’s going to be distractions in LA. There’s gonna be stuff that happens in LA,” Mora said. “I’ve got P. Diddy’s son, I’ve got Snoop’s son. On campus there’s always celebrities all over. There’s cameras, sometimes you walk out of our practice, TMZ’s there. It’s just the way that it is when you’re at UCLA."
“I think it’s good for our kids because it teaches them to deal with distractions. We’re playing at the Rose Bowl in front of 85,000 people against a great team like USC, you better be able to assume focus. So I think all these things teach them how to eliminate the noise and focus in on what they have to focus in on.”
Is it ever good for the public perception of a program when a player's father is in the team gym launching kettle bells at the Strength and Conditioning Coach? Of course not. However, what is more important than the media circus that follows college football teams is the on-field success of those very same college football teams. So while Diddy may have turned UCLA into quite the internet joke this offseason, the internet isn't the one signing the Letters Of Intent. I actually agree with Jim Mora that this is a positive for his team. I may disagree as to why, but I agree with the premise regardless.
Jim Mora may act like he is concerned about the players already on his team when a story like this leaks, but he wouldn't be doing his job if he wasn't concerned about how it affects the players that could potentially be on his team in the future. While he may consider the presence of celebrities, cameras, and huge crowds a distraction, future college athletes consider them perks. Keep in mind that we are talking about 18 year old kids. Let's be honest, most student athletes are so shallow that they make Kanye West look like he's swimming in the deep end. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that there are 0 kids choosing to go to UCLA because of reputation of the strength and conditioning coach. On the other hand, the potential presence of the guy that nearly decapitated him with a free weight is probably enough to sway at least one recruit. So if you are asking if I think UCLA will be better at football because they had a hip-hop entrepreneur attempting murder on a member of the coaching staff then the answer is no. If you are asking if they will be better at football because the thought of Diddy and Snoop wandering around a locker room is enough to bring in a higher ranked recruit then the answer is yes. It may take a certain level of focus and mental toughness to play in front of crowds of 85,000 people, but it doesn't take that same focus and mental toughness to choose to do so. As a general rule of thumb, college kids don't get distracted by things that aren't awesome. There is a direct correlation between the number of distractions and the allure of a University. That's why Colorado went winless in the conference last year. Their only distraction is weed, and every college campus has that.