The Lombardo Trophy rarely forays into the realm of reality, preferring instead to focus on those aspects of sports far removed from the consequence of the commonplace.
But occasionally real life rears its very real head and butts you square in the jaw. LT received such a blow on Wednesday, when ASUC President Vishalli Loomba threw a power-grabbing haymaker straight at LT’s noggin in the form of a V.O.I.C.E. Initiative-quashing executive order.
What does this have to do with sports, you ask? Very little, but given the matter’s importance to Cal’s student community LT feels compelled to address it. So like its high school history teacher who refused to explain anything — up to and including Nasser’s Pan-Arabism — without a sports metaphor, LT will attempt to illuminate the issue with several athletic analogies.
As with a Nolan Ryan right fist on Robin Ventura’s head, Loomba’s punch landed with knockout power and was more than a little unwarranted. Powerful because it imposed one person’s will more effectively than David Stern’s dropkick of the Chris Paul trade; unwarranted because the logic behind it used an interpretation of the ASUC’s constitution which only Tim Donaghy could offer.
In a Thursday blog post, LT’s colleague Jason Willick took stock of the order and the Senate’s subsequent upholding of it: either “(1) our student representatives choose to ignore the constitution entirely, or (2) they have never read it before.”
Now, LT is inclined to think the latter. The ASUC is not a malicious bunch staffed by the New Orleans Saints. But they do appear to have the legislative literacy of the aforementioned group, because the constitution quite explicitly delineates the reach of Loomba’s weapon of choice.
The executive order, like the Hail Mary, is reserved for the moment of last recourse. Wednesday morning, when Loomba issued the order, was not that moment; it could be more appropriately approximated by fourth and one, well before the two minute warning. Instead, she should have punted it away to the judicial council by filing charges against the referendum, simultaneously following the letter of the system which she heads and not obliterating the democratic vote already underway.
The most shocking aspect of all this is the way in which the student body’s elected leaders seemed utterly unaware of the laws they had just trampled. Imagine the Saints appointing the Dukes of Hazzard to fill in for Sean Payton, and then Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL brain trust approving it with nary a glance at the Hazzard boys’ resumes. The net effect is more or less what LT sees in the organizational incompetence of the ASUC.
Because these Donald Sterling wannabes had two bites at the apple to prevent this. Prior to Wednesday night, each member of the ASUC had an opportunity to strike down the initiative, which trudged a circuitous — and legal — path over several months to be placed on the ballot. Then, when presented with the overreach of executive power, the ASUC Senate choked worse than the Cal basketball team down the stretch this past season.
It boils down to the mindset behind the decision. To LT, it seems plain that Loomba — undoubtedly well-intentioned in acting on legitimate concerns, which should be investigated — dealt from a position of fear. So did the senators who subsequently kowtowed to their leader’s wishes.
And anyone who follows sports understands this is not firm footing for a defensive stand.