It was a case that combined titillating T-shirts, charges of bootlegging Bruins and pangs of wounded college pride.
A UCLA alumni group known as the KELPS--Knights, Earls, Lords, Potentates and Sultans--had gathered outside the Rose Bowl Nov. 17 for a morning of revelry before the big game against USC.
As has become their custom, this cadre of middle-aged, self-described "pre-psychedelic pranksters" commemorated the event by selling off-color T-shirts slurring their rivals.
But agents of UCLA's licensing division, which has the exclusive contract to sell merchandise at all Bruin games, were not amused.
They flagged down Pasadena police, who slapped the group's leader with a $100 ticket for violating Section 3.24.110 A-12 of the Municipal Code--vending without a license.
So the KELPS bided their time, vowing to defend their honor in a court of law.
Or, as KELPS' "low-potentate" William (Cadillac) McNally put it: "We had to go back and kick their butts, man. This is no way to treat alumni."
On Thursday, after a non-jury trial that took up the better part of the day, a bemused Pasadena Municipal Court judge dismissed the case on the grounds that officers never actually saw McNally, Class of '63, sell a shirt to non-KELPS members.
Officials for Associated Students UCLA, which manages the college's official blue and gold logo, were disappointed.
"We want to preserve the integrity of the university," said licensing assistant Cynthia Harwood. "I don't think this was an appropriate use of the university's name."
But the KELPS, who claim to have Superior Court judges, Olympic athletes and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists as members, felt vindicated. "It doesn't make up for the loss to USC," McNally said. "But it does show they were pushing the wrong people around."