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UCLA withholds expense checks from some football players

School officials say the players were told the checks would not be distributed if they did not attend mandatory workouts during finals week. The players say the workouts were voluntary.

December 12, 2011|By Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times

Some UCLA football players and members of the coaching staff were at odds Sunday after bowl game checks meant to help with living expenses were withheld.

Some players did not receive checks for failing to attend what they called voluntary workouts during finals week, according to one parent who asked not to be identified because it could affect his son.

The workouts were mandatory, plus those players had not turned in their academic exit forms for the quarter, said UCLA spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso, who added that players were told that the checks would be withheld.

Players receive two checks, one this week and one the week of the bowl game. The checks were issued after players complained on their Twitter accounts. Players said they use the money to buy food, as university services are shut down after the quarter ends.

"Those who did not complete their assignment had their checks withheld," Ammazzalorso said. "The coaching staff changed its mind when they realized that withholding the money would cause the players some financial hardship."

The Bruins had their first bowl practice Sunday to prepare to play Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31. Afterward, several players were not given checks.

"We are being held from our checks because we chose not to participate in voluntary workouts," defensive back Randall Carroll wrote on Twitter. "Honestly, [I] don't know how I'm going to eat these few days."

Linebacker Aramide Olaniyan also posted on Twitter account, saying in part "My stomach [is] growling tonight."

chris.foster@latimes.com

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