UCLA football is just five days away from playing Baylor in the Holiday Bowl on December 27.
Starting sophomore safety Tevin McDonald, however, won’t make the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego due to violation of team rules, in which the specifics were not released. From Ryan Kartje at the OC Register:
After an “undisclosed violation of team rules”, sophomore safety Tevin McDonald did not travel with the team to San Diego on Friday, and thus will not be playing in next Thursday’s bowl game. UCLA Coach Jim Mora did not elaborate on the nature of the violation.
Kartje speculates that this could be a result of poor grades, although again, this is just speculation:
There’s some reason to believe that, since final grades were likely released since the Bruins’ last practice, that McDonald’s issue is an academic one.
This is a massive blow for UCLA football-wise. Tevin McDonald is easily UCLA’s best defensive back and will be sorely missed against a Baylor offense that loves to pass often and spread the field thin enough to run up the gut for big gains.
The silver lining, though, because as fans, it’s tough to never think of one, is that if the issue is not academic, Jim Mora has no issue with benching his best players for doing stupid, little things.
Of course, we’re hoping Jim Mora’s toughness gets extracted out of him and forms into an All-Pac-12-caliber defensive back to play against the Bears.