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The article hits on many key points that I agree with. We need systemic change starting at the top. I would also like to add we need changes to our academic requirements for student-athlete acceptance.

Aren't we still dealing with the tighter academic standards we put in place in 2014? It is very stiffling to our recruiting and onfield success to have exceedingly different academic standards influencing the kids we can go after. Instead, I'm in favor of having the same standards as other schools and implementing more academic support for the kids once they are at Cal.

Does anyone think that Duke isn't a strong academic institution because a large % of their basketball players don't get degrees?

The changes we implemented a decade ago were another example of a knee-jerk, shortsighted response to a single data point that wasn't even suggesting a trend.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023

I liken Oregon's ascendancy to that of MTV or Google or Facebook - it was the right idea done well at the right time. Around the same time as Phil opening the wallet for UO, T Boone Pickens was throwing a similar amount of dough at the Oklahoma St program, and they made many of the same moves as the Ducks - uni's, lux locker room, etc, but with modest results. As brewer mentioned, Texas A&M has been throwing cash at its program, and they haven't risen accordingly. You do need a billionaire, but that's not all.

You also need to make entertainment that ESPN will want to showcase and profit from at a time when they're hungry for it. From the innovative fast paced offense to the Joey Harrington 10-story banner in Times Square, to the uniforms - it all made a great story for television, therefore ratings for ESPN.

Since we don't have a Phil Knight-like billionaire, or a few hundred-millionaires (like A&M's "Champions Council") to spread out the pain, it's very unlikely to happen here. As previously mentioned, we can aspire only to the levels of success attained by schools like WSU or OSU (and then only if our academics are lightened and NIL soars).

Oregon is a black swan, and as relevant an example in this discussion as asking "what does Shasta Cola need to do to achieve the success of Coke"? i.e. - barring raining frogs, it ain't gonna happen.

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Agree in general. But remember that the stadium catastrophe alienated key constituencies who would hardly agree that Cal wasn’t spending enough on football. Also … a large part of what went wrong, imo, is that Tedford (especially) and Dykes were kept on for too long — is there a lesson for the future?

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Hit the nail on the head. Building “buy-in” should be the top priority for the powers that be. If they can’t or won’t seek that, it’s time to stop wasting money on D1 athletics and go the way of UChicago.

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That 42-3 loss, followed by the 30-3 loss to USC broke Tedford and our program.

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Missing the forest for the trees. Texas A&M just dropped $75M to buyout/fire their coach, and despite this, money will not be an issue in their next coaching hire. The sport has officially jumped the shark. Anyone with half a brain cell (which would include most Cal grads) realizes that this is just a zero sum game where outside of the top few teams, donations are the equivalent to lighting money on fire. And meanwhile, the fan experience gets worse and worse, higher ticket prices, game times getting pushed around, hours of commercial timeouts, etc...

We missed a huge opportunity to reject the status quo. We could have stuck with our OSU/WSU brethren and tried to rebuild a conference that prioritizes our values. Maybe merge with the MWC and utilize a relegation system to keep things exciting. And implement salary caps for coaches and regulations around NIL to restore some sanity to the arms race. Instead we are stuck in the ACC until 2036 on a meager revenue share playing the same futile game as before.

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My monthly-very-well-informed view is that Tedford (who absolutely needed a break) crashed the program (including academics), and that Dykes was a fairly effective interim dealing with a difficult situation but was never a plausible long-term fit.

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Phil Knight Phil Knight Phil Knight. Mega wealthy and his wealth came from a sports empire. There are no other Nike’s out there.

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Cool article Avi...and something that I have thought about for a long time.

We better get it right quickly because football mediocrity in the ACC will bankrupt us fast (given no regional rivalries, beyond Stanfurd, to keep people engaged). The alumni are going to have to play a major role in raising the ship, as I am not sure if we can depend on the admin to do it.

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Thanks Avi…great article.

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The tree-sitters stopped key momentum as it pushed back the stadium renovations and program had lost considerable momentum when stadium opened in 2012

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Uncle Phil is a key to not only funds for athletics, but also for the buy-in- by student-athletes/recruitment (the cool changing uni, facilities, etc) but also more importantly the academic portion of the university, since I believe he also donates there. The result of rising tides of the university with improved athletics is also huge for OR buy-in, and I find it difficult to believe the rising tides view will ever be held by the majority of Cal and current administration.

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