Saturday, October 26, 2013


                It’s official:  We are now ranked #1 as the worst team in the country for graduating students.  Out of 123 FBS (Whatever that means) teams, we are “The furstest with the wurstest”--#123.  See article:

It took a lot of effort to achieve this goal.

                To Dykes credit, this is not on him.  These rankings do not reflect his players.  It appears he is turning things around.

 These are players who were given six years to graduate—and when measured against all the FBS Colleges in the country we came in dead last.  Number one in ineptitude.  Cal.  Maybe we should be called Berkeley so no one knows it was us who did so poorly.

This is not Tedford’s fault.  He just took the rap for the failure of the Chancellor to insist that his Vice Chancellor, insist that his Athletic Director, insist that her Head Coach, insist that his assistant coaches, insist that their recruiters, insist that all athletes recruited, “fit” and are capable of meeting the rigorous demands expected of the (once) Greatest University in the World.

This is a failure of management—not of children.  This was not their doing.  

It was all pure exploitation of youngsters in an attempt to build a winning program which would fill a stadium and generate enough revenue to pay off bonds to finance the almost $500,000,000 spent on the Athletic Center and renovated stadium.

It’s an embarrassment.  Universities are supposed to be about excellence—not crass exploitation of children for financial gain.  

(And please spare us quotes from Professor Barsky criticizing Cal and Athletics.

We're paying professor Barsky to say and do things like this--

  "My intent is to provide a delicate balance of the study of photography with developing critical-thinking skills related to the unfolding controversies swirling around the university,"

  His "class" teaches kids to photograph campus demonstrations!  Talk about wasted funds--but I digress.

Of course, once Rugby--the poster child for excellence in Cal athletics (and graduation rates)--was demoted—we all saw where the administration’s “head was at.”

(As an aside back when Rugby was first demoted, and Sandy and I were friendly, we spoke on the phone and I told her that Jack Clark promised if they would re-instate Rugby, our alumni would not only pay for mens Rugby, we would finance a women’s rugby team as well.  She told me (this is true) “she didn’t need any more sports”—she “had too many already.“ 

When I asked why Rugby was demoted instead of soccer (roughly the same budget, fields, equipment,etc.) she replied,  “Why the Director’s Cup, of course.”  That’s when I first realized Cal was in trouble.  The Chancellor’s priorities were not in order.

Excellence should always be rewarded—especially in a University setting.  But we were then about money—and only money—excellence be damned.

So how do we fix this problem?  Or should we focus on fixing our defense instead?

Assuming our athletic programs should be about developing character (in a winning environment BTW), it begins with our recruiting.

We need to change the focus.  Stanford has done it and we need to take a page from the book written,oddly, by Jim Harbaugh according to Coach David Shaw. He boasts (it may not all be true, but it sure sounds good), that they are out to change the world and College Football at the same time.  

They think they can find geniuses who can play football as well and they are committed to doing that.  

Here’s what he said at the TED conference this year.  All Cal fans should take this to heart:

Stanford State was the first team in history to go to a BCS Bowl and graduate 100% of its kids.
There is a simple fix.  It just requires a change in focus from management.  It begins with recruiting.

Like Shaw says, “Don’t recruit guys who you think you can get through school (think basketweaving in our day).  Recruit the best and the brightest—only!"  There are a lot of them out there—look at Andrew Luck, RGIII and Dave DeCastro—three first round picks who graduated with big time degrees.

He claims they start with a kid’s vocabulary—and check out whether or not he can look you in the eye.  (Cal could do worse than just take the kids Stanford State doesn’t take).

Do the math:  There are 123 FBS schools.  They give out about 25 scholarships per year per school.  In round numbers that means there are over 2,500 athletes good enough to play Division 1 football.

Instead of looking at game films, start with SAT tests (or GPA’s)—choose your metrics.

Take the top 10% (250 kids) and focus all money and time on them—forget the rest.

If we get only one out of ten of them we will hit our number—25 highly skilled, highly qualified kids.

(According to this year there are 715 three star players or above.  10% is 71 kids to go after—who are elite.  I think we got three four Star recruits this year and no 5 stars (that may not be accurate as I don’t really follow 17 year olds that closely), but you can see with only 300 4 star athletes and above, spread out over 123 team—though the Alabamas may get a disproportionate number of them—most teams are lucky to end up with one to three elite players.  Ergo:  There are some 2,200 three star players or below who will end up playing D1 ball.  The pool is big enough!

It’s that simple.  Take our recruiting budget and focus it on the top 5% or 10% of each recruiting class (based on academics) and we will vault out of last place.  Stop going for good athletes who may be able to cut it.

It’s all about focus and priorities.  First and foremost it comes from the top and hopefully our new Chancellor Dirks will direct his subordinates to place the emphasis where it should be—on great athletes who are in the top of their field academically.  Not who might be able to graduate, but one’s who are destined to excel in the classroom.  They’re out there.

Of course, if that fails, maybe Janet Napolitano could appoint Kathleen Sebelius to come in and clean up the mess.  It might be an improvement.

Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren '70

P.S.  That Cab awaits anyone who comes up this way.

1 comment:

JC Smith said...

"Of course, if that fails, maybe Janet Napolitano could appoint Kathleen Sebelius to come in and clean up the mess. It might be an improvement."

Jeff, why not start a campaign to oust Sandy? Please post the email of Napolitano and let the games begin!

Keep writing!
Jim the Jet