Big news in the sports world as a lawsuit has been filed over the canceled North Carolina State and UCLA Holiday Bowl game in 2021. As an NC State graduate and die-hard fan, (Literally die-hard I’m writing this in a Pack 9 shirt ready to cheer on our baseball team at 1 pm today), I still have PTSD over what Covid-19 cost our athletics teams. There is the baseball debacle. I could go on a 3-hour rant about how horrendously it was handled by the NCAA. And even how our AD didn’t do enough at least in the public eye. And yes I did send an email about that. I told you I’m passionate. I would have fully supported a lawsuit over that situation, and I’m getting riled up now just thinking about it. But that wasn’t the only thing Covid-19 took from NC State Athletics in 2021. The other was our chance at a 10-win football season.
Here’s What Happened
NC State got, what I felt, was the short end of the stick and shipped off to San Diego California for the Holiday Bowl against UCLA. This was a primetime match-up against a quality opponent and one we had a good chance of defeating. But being that the game was to be played December 27th the team had to travel and miss the holidays with their families. This is obviously a known possibility in college football. The other downside was it was extremely expensive for fans to travel for just two days after Christmas. Flights from North Carolina to San Diego were over $1,000 on the discount airlines. Add in hotels, food, and tickets it cost a pretty penny. There were fans that made the trip, however.
Pregame activities, practices, etc all went off without a hitch. But just a few hours before kickoff, UCLA pulled out of the game. They claimed players had Covid-19 and they were unable to field a team. I’ll spare you my rant on that and most of my true feelings, but they had enough players in numbers, perhaps just not the specific players they wanted, and could have played if they wanted to. In my opinion, they just didn’t want to. So players and fans missed the holidays with their families, and the fans were out thousands of dollars. Seniors who thought they had one more game, had their careers ended without closure. Without the chance to play that final game. And that hope of a 10-win season, it was gone.
While fans were out money, they did get refunds for tickets, but not travel expenses obviously. Not only was the Holiday Bowl forced to refund that money, they also lost out on all the sponsorship money and well as media broadcast rights. They also had already paid to have the baseball stadium converted to a football field, as well as staffing. Safe to say, they lost a lot of money. And it’s been 18 months but now the Holiday Bowl is trying to recoup some of that money. College Football reporter Brett Murphy is reporting that the Holiday Bowl has filed a lawsuit against both UCLA and the PAC-12 (UCLA’s conference) over the canceled bowl game. They are asking for over $3 million in damages combined from both parties.
Murphy reports that the Holiday Bowl “has engaged and continues to engage in good faith with the Pac-12 to negotiate a resolution of the dispute without success.” He goes on to say that they warned the Pac-12 about the impending lawsuit two weeks ago if a resolution could not be reached. And it’s safe to assume it was not met. I for one, while extremely biased, am in full support of this lawsuit over the North Carolina State UCLA failed bowl game. I feel that UCLA saw an out to a game they didn’t think they could win and took it. They took it with no regard for anyone else involved and I hope they are held financially accountable for this. Even if that money won’t go back into fans’ pockets.
It will be interesting to see what information comes out if this lawsuit makes it to court, though my money would be on a settlement. No matter what happens I’ll be watching this story closely. And in case you’re wondering UCLA is on my always cheer-against list with a handful of other teams. I hold grudges I won’t deny it.