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Football: Sandy Barbour’s response

By Jeff Faraudo
Thursday, February 14th, 2013 at 4:31 pm in Football.

 Here is Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour’s response to points raised by former football coach Jeff Tedford in our Thursday interivew:

– On when she made the decision to make a coaching change:

“As I said all along, I was evaluating and certainly wanted at the end of the season do a full body of work analysis. I knew I didn’t have a whole lot of time. I always wanted to have multiple conversations with Jeff, give him some time to respond to questions and concerns. That’s what Jeff and I did over the course of 2 1/2 days. He and I met twice by ourselves, and with the chancellor and vice chancellor (John) Wilton. That;s ultimately when the decision was made.”

– On whether she also met with Tedford during the season:

“Did some of that as well. I let Jeff dictate that. I knew how consumed he was by the season, and dedicated to those guys,  and I didn’t want to ask him to take away from that. He and I did have a couple of conversations. That certainly helped frame something some things for me.”

– On whether Chancellor Robert Birgeneau had a hand in the decision:

“I’ve never claimed it was my decision and only my decision. As athletic director it was left for me to decide. I certainly had conversations and imput and the chancellelor was a part of the decision-making process, no doubt about it.”

– On the administration’s support of the football academic support staff:

“My response to that is we continually evaluate. Do we have the right amount of academic support, because it is a priority. At the end of Jeff’s tenure, we had three times the academic support in terms of personnel that we did when I got here in 2004.”

– On Tedford’s claim that his coaching staff knew of his firing before he did:

“I was not aware of that. Certainly we had to be prepared to have a proper communication strategy. Very few people knew.  Jeff was told and had an opportunity inform those who were close to him.”

– On Tedford’s contention that the biggest academic problem was players leaving after their senior season and not returning to school to complete their degrees:

“That’s correct. It was not a matter of football stufdent-athletes flunking out. We got to really examine where the issues were and kids got pretty much to the end and then just didn’t finish.”

– On whether the contracts of Cal assistant coaches were structured differently than at other schools, with less guaranteed money:

“All I can say to that is we continue to monitor the market place and do what we can do to be competitive. We had significantly more guys on multi-year contracts (then) than we do now.”

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  • Juancho

    Would have loved to see Sandy asked the Tosh question. Tedford made it seem like it was an administration problem that couldn’t be fixed. Not his management of it. Would love to have seen Sandy asked to comment.

  • BlueNGold

    I hope this passes quickly. We do not need this sort of soap opera in the midst of a coaching transition.

  • ConcordBear

    Tedford is out, the one that still remains is Sandy Barbour.
    There have been and still are administrative problems. We do not put as many resources into football as we need to. There is no excuse for not being all in for football. That falls at the feet of Sandy, there are no legitimate excuses, some how some way she needs to get it done. Coach Dykes and his staff deserve everything under NCAA rules needed to win big.
    Ever since Sandy was hired as AD our football program has been slipping.
    She either needs o fix the problem and do what it takes to get us to the BCS or get out. She’s been here 11 years. No BCS yet, time for her to earn her bloated pay check
    Tired of the excuses
    Cal players, fans and coaches need to see results!

  • Daniel

    Concord raises an interesting point that I hadn’t noticed before now. 2003, ’04, 05, 06 were great, but by year 3 of Sandy we nosedived and haven’t pulled up. In spite is talent, stadiums, etc.
    Tedford had great years, but she hasn’t. How long can she stay on the clock?

  • Hungry

    Maybe there’s the price to pay when you have so many players going into the NFL – they do not finish their education at Cal!

  • Gobears49

    I still say that if Sandy was at all creative, and really knew football, she would have known both the importance to a team’s performance of bringing in the best football talent and that Cal had a unique talent and a person who was one of the best people in the country in doing that in Lupoi.

    If Sandy had known that, and I think she should have, as an athletic director, she should have known how important Lupoi was to Cal’s future football success and figured out a way to keep Lupoi (I think he would have easily fit in well with Dykes, who knows football talent and, no doubt, tremendously respects those who can really bring in that talent very well). Knowing how much a key a proven great recruiter is to having a great football program, she could have easily justified paying him more than all other assistant coaches except for the offensive and defensive coordinators (and maybe even equal to them). If it was possible to keep quiet and non-public, Sandy could have just leveled with Tedford and told him he was on the hot seat and, to help preserve his job (with no promises as to how long that would be), he needed to agree to a small (say 10%) permanent cut in salary to help fund the cost of keeping Lupoi. I think Tedford would have gone along with that. He is clearly not stupid. Even if that agreement could not have been kept confidential, I think it would have been worth it. Washington seems to be really enjoying the fruits of Lupoi’s labors for them. He could have clearly supplemented the good recruiting from Dykes and his former La Tech assistants. Very frankly, with Lupoi and Dykes and his gang, I think Cal could have often come in the top 10 nationally in recruiting for years to come, and certainly in the top 20 every year.

    BTW, I think it is reprehensible, if true, that Tedford’s assistants knew about his firing very early and before he had a chance to tell them. Most likely that is true since Tedford seems to be a totally straight up guy who doesn’t lie (I wouldn’t put Sandy in that category at all, given all of the BS she said initially about what she had told the baseball team about the details of funding that would keep that program alive, which it appears she later ran away from). My view of Sandy is that she’s slick, a politician of the highest degree, and not very sincere. However, I have to to hand it to her on her bringing in Monty, a great hire. The changes in the stadium and the related new facilities were needed and she was the primary moving force in bringing that about, though it remains to be seen what the financial fallout from them will be. The jury is out on Dykes, though so far there is great optimism as to what he can do. We’ll just have to wait and see how that optimism plays out on the field. I hope that works out well, as I, along with tens of thousands of Cal alums, I want to watch Cal play in the Rose Bowl before I die.

  • Gobears49

    Perhaps saying Sandy lied about the details relating to the baseball funding is too strong. I don’t know that, so I retract that. But from what I read about that incident about that time, there was a lot of talk, which was published in the media, that all that was required for baseball to continue to be funded was that a total dollar amount of funds needed to be gathered from sources connected with a whole host of sports IN THE AGGREGATE (not including football or basketball). People claimed that this was later changed by Sandy to require that a certain level of funds needed to be collected sport by sport in order for them to survive (or something close to that). I believe that latter aggregate formula was what was proposed by the Cal athletic department and not whatever the final formula was imposed to preserve baseball and other minor sports at Cal.

  • BlueNGold

    I do not like everything SB does and says, but the resources she has to work with have limits and she has a lot of sports programs to administer with them. She makes the tough decisions when she needs to, and is decisive in doing so. I get turned off by the manner in which she communicates in the media, but at least she is not as trite and cliche ridden as was JT.

    She did what she had to do to increase alumni financial support of the expensive programs like baseball. Many did not like the way she went about it, and I was one of those, but in the end, she got done what needed to be done because the days of the chancellor’s office subsidizing the athletics programs are clearly over.

    I do not find a lot of fault in the way she went about changing football coaches, other than perhaps starting sooner by laying out some achievement targets to use in measuring the success of the program. All in all I think Sandy has done a good overall job and deserves our support, even when it is accompanied by constructive criticism. Making snarky comments about her bloated salary and being on the clock too long is really counterproductive.

  • Gobears49

    BlueNGold,

    Nice comments. But I trust the description of what the Cal baseball people said about what rules relating to and the amount of funding were initially required by Sandy over her version of events. I think a lot of people feel the same way. Ever since the shock over losing baseball and the way I believe that issue was handled, I simply don’t trust her.

    Plus, I think she should have done a lot more, if she truly knew football, to keep Tosh. Cutting Tedford’s salary to pay for it would have been just one way to achieve that goal. There were, undoubtedly, other ways.

    Although I love watching Cal basketball, I like watching Cal football more. Had we kept Tosh our football prospects next year would be much better and thus our chances to go to the Rose Bowl. I lay that reduced opportunity at the feel of Sandy. I thus agree with Juancho that it is too bad you didn’t ask Sandy about what she did to keep Tosh at Cal, though I guess I can understand you thinking that is a minor issue now. He was probably the best football recruiter ever for Cal, other than one of its head football coach (and maybe taking into account all of them, as well), that Cal has had or will ever have. Our loss in losing Tosh’s services has certainly been Washington’s gain.

  • ConcordBear

    Facts are since Sandy has been AD football has slipped from where it was under Gladstone. Even with amazing beautiful brand new facilities.
    She is obviously not getting it done in regards to the most important sport on campus.
    I hope the hire she made in coach Dykes works out and he wins a lot. But, no matter how good a coach he is he needs administrative support that other top west coast schools provide.
    She can hide behind any excuse she wants, but that’s weak. Cal cut sports and makes them pay for themselves. They have made tough choices before. They must increase the football budget. Other schools negatively recruit against us because our football budget is less than most schools. It is effective because it’s true.
    Tired of the excuses time for our AD to produce great results in football and after that mens basketball.
    That’s where the money and glory are.
    She has to show us administrative improvements. Things people can see to dispell negative recruiting and put everyting in place to allow our football program to win big.
    It’s time to get this right!
    She leads us there I’ll be the first one praising her and eating crow at the same time but not holding my breath based on the past 11 years.

  • BlueNGold

    GoBears49- I do not understand your comment about cutting Tedford’s salary to pay more money to Lupoi. The AD can’t unilaterally cut a salary without consent because its a breach of contract. Besides, why should we believe that Lupoi would have stayed if only paid more?

    People talk about increasing the football budget to improve the program. First, spending more does not always translate to improvement. Second, prior to the renovations, revenues from football tickets funded the AD general operating budget. Post renovations, they are going to service the debt for the upgrades. So in order to increase the football budget, some new sources of revenue have to be brought to the fore. The new media contracts are supposed to be generating significant new revenues, but now all the media money is controlled by the conference, so maybe its not as great a deal as advertised?
    What avenues are left? Sell more Cal gear? Boost donor support (again)? Sell more billboard space at CMS? My point is that it will require some time and planning to plug into new revenue sources and make them lucrative. In the meantime, where is all this new money going to come from?

  • Gobears49

    BlueNGold,

    Obviously, Tedford would have had to agree to a salary cut. It couldn’t be imposed on him. But I believe it wouldn’t have taken long for him to agree to that cut in order to keep his job By him agreeing to the cut, the salary cut would not be unilateral.

    Don’t know whether you second paragraph relates to my retaining Tosh point, but in fact it does. Saving Tosh’s job (and preferably doing so most cost-effectively by cutting Tedford’s salary to help pay for Tosh’s salary increase) would likely lead to the following progression of results –

    1. Keeping the top 10 recruiting class we had from verbal commitments intact, as they would not be lured elsewhere because of Tosh’s departure. Those departures are exactly what happened, i believe, with respect to a few football players that had previously verbally committed to Cal and later switched to other schools (such as Thompson, Syd’s brother, who started for Washington as a freshman) after Tosh quit and we lost out, in addition, to some possible excellent recruits that had narrowed their choices to Cal and just a couple of other schools such as, I believe, defensive lineman Armstead (now at Oregon). Undoubtedly, the recent freshman football class that Cal just signed would have been significantly stronger had Tosh been recruiting for Cal in recruiting that freshman class.

    2. With better football players, the likelihood of Cal’s football fortunes on the field being better would improve.

    3. Improvements in Cal’s football fortunes would bring in more people to the football stadium to watch Cal play and perhaps significantly.

    4. Improved football revenues would provide more funds to pay down the huge debt incurred to build the stadium and other related improvements.

    One can say this progression wouldn’t be affected by not keeping Tosh, but I think most people out there, and those in the know of who Tosh had recruited, was recruting, and would likely have recruited would strongly disagree. Had Sandy been really knowledgeable about football (and I don’t know if she is or not, but I question that) and which individuals were, in large part, responsible for bringing in a whole host of top Cal recruits in past years (which she should have known about if she followed Cal’s football program closely, though maybe she did), she would, or at least should, have known how important it was to keep Tosh on board and continue to recruit players for Cal. She wasn’t successful in doing so, which I think was a big mistake on her part (Tedford really had no say in what he could offer Tosh, financially, to stay, which I believe was mainly Sandy’s job, at least in comparison to Tedford) in making Cal successful in football as much as possible and making Cal generate as much money as possible from its football program.

  • Gobears49

    Decided to read through what I wrote today before hitting the sack. I want to adjust what I said in my comment #6 above. While I didn’t say it was true, I want to correct the impression that Tedford’s assistants were definitely told early after his actual firing that he was being fired and they knew before he had a chance to tell them about that. I just checked what Tedford said in his interview with Jeff and he didn’t say that, or accuse Sandy of not giving him enough time to tell his assistants of his firing. So, if I gave that false impression, I am now correcting that.

    While I was totally in favor of Tedford being let go, as I think football schemes and strategies had passed him by within the past five years or so, I always thought he was a standup guy and extremely hardworking and and I feel a bit sorry for him. It’s always nice for a person like that to be the one to tell his underlings he has been fired rather than have the employer do so for him. It seemed apparent that Tedford felt frustrated in his belief the he was not informing his assistants of his new status and his belief that they had been informed of that earlier, though I don’t believe he stated in his interview how long he had after his firing to let his assistants know about that event.

  • BlueNGold

    GoBears- Sorry but I can’t agree. I don’t agree that JT would have gladly accepted a pay cut in order to save his job. Why would he, with the salary guarantees he had already been given? And if the money were taken away from JT in order to pay more to one asst coach. I could see JT as well as other asst coaches being really PO’ed and bailing out on Cal as a result. And finally, I do not believe that the four elements of positive results you cite would necessarily or automatically follow such a sequence of events. In fact, I have to say I think its really nothing more than a pipe dream.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    #12- GoBears49′s #1 point is spot on. While I currently loath Tosh for the manner of his departure, you can’t argue with his talent for recruiting and his success. The 2012 Signing Class was going to be stellar, and it toppled like a bad game of Jinga after Toshgate.

    I think there is still much more to the story of Tosh’s departure, and would agree with the assertion that Sandy may have undervalued what Tosh brought to the table. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…

    With that said, it is all water under the bridge and it is time to move on. We can rehash this stuff & piss in the wind forever. It is time to move on from Tedford, Tosh, etc etc…

    “It’s a Sonny day in Strawberry Canyon!”

  • ConcordBear

    What we have not moved on from is the AD, chancellor and the administration as a whole.
    It’s time for them to start producing in the money makers.
    Enough of the excuses
    Lets see results!

  • Gobears49

    Nor-Cal,

    Agree we should move on with regard to Tosh-Gate. But it came up in Tedford’s interview, which reminded of my frustration on this issue. I think for about $200,000 or a bit more we could have kept Tosh. Would have been money well spent, in my opinion, leading, as I have explained, to a good chance of football gate receipts. Having great football talent makes it much easier to have a great football team. I’m sure Juancho agrees.

  • Gobears49

    BlueNGold,

    Never said anything about Tedford gladly accepting a pay cut. I do think he would have considered it. If he didn’t accept the pay cut, there were other ways of raising money to keep Tosh.

    Didn’t say my progression would necessarily or automatically follow. Just that better talent makes it more likely to have a better team, leading it more likely to generate more money. Nothing is certain,for sure, but I’m sure you would agree that better football talent makes it more likely to have a better team.

  • Uh Huh!

    Gobears49:
    Do you think it reasonable for Tedford to cover the 200k?

  • Gobears49

    Yes, he was way overpaid.

    BTW, even if Tedford did not agree to a salary cut to keep Tosh, which preferably would have been kept confidential, as letting that be known would have been a signal that perhaps Tedford was on the way out, which other schools would have taken advantage of in recruiting) even asking Tedford for a pay cut would have sent a message that a lot of people were not happy with the way the Cal football program was going at that time and that it was time to turn things around.

    I’m not saying asking for a cut in salary and getting it would have not been without potential problems (like other assistants expecting some sort of raise also), but I read there could have been a problem raising money to keep Tosh on board, so getting part of all of it from Tedford would have been one way to raise the necessary funds ,though it seems $220k or even $300k is not a great sum of money. I’d be surprise if private donors, who understood the great benefits Tosh had brought to the program and knew he would continue to do so, would have pitched in financially to keep Tosh. I don’t know if they were asked by Sandy and/or others to do that, but I think that should have been done. All I know is that our recruiting has gone down and Washington’s has gone up since Tosh left for Washington. I believe that is almost entirely due to Tosh’s departure. Hopefully Sonny and his La. Tech gang are such great recruiters we won’t miss Tosh’s contribution in the future. But I strongly suspect Tosh would have made our future recruiting classes even stronger, and if Sonny and his assistants did a decent job in recruiting, we would have at least a top 20 recruiting class every year.

    I’m a bit sick of this topic, and would just as soon drop it, but I as long as people as me questions, or challenge me on my opinion on this, I know I will have to respond.

  • Gobears49

    More precisely, I believe Tedford was way overpaid (I read about $2.3 million a year, probably not taking into account potential bonuses, though I never read a summary of what and how much those bonuses might be and for what) for what he had been producing. I’m sure he could have lived on less.

  • BlueNGold

    Not going to argue further with you GoBears- your earlier posts speak for themselves. But Nor Cal is right. Time to move on from all this. That is why I expressed dismay when I saw the coverage that JF was giving the whole situation.

    We have a new coach who managed to recruit pretty well given his short time on the job and lack of west coast ties. Lets see what SD can do with the guys he’s got. I am optimistic about our prospects.

  • go8ears

    I don’t see the toshgate as a result of not being able to increase his salary so much as a result of JT’s inability and failure to maintain a good relationship with him. It’s evident in the manner that Tosh left that he neither respected or liked JT very much. I don’t think Sandy should be blamed for that mess.

  • Gobears49

    I strongly disagree with both BlueNGold and GoBears about Tosh but I also agree there is nothing that can be done now. Dykes has a rep for being a great recruiter so we will have to see how that work out.

    But I am still frustrated about how excited I was to have a top 10 recruiting ranking and have it all fall apart after Tosh left. Perhaps Tosh’s relationship with Tedford wasn’t the best — I have no knowledge of that. But I think they could have worked it out if Cal had countered and even exceeded Washington’s offer.

    If anything that has been learned from this whole episode, it is that it is possible that one guy can have an extreme effect on how well recruiting goes and that the ability to recruit really well is under appreciated in terms of its importance to a football program. I believe Tosh was unique in the results he produced in bringing in great recruits for many years for Cal and was not being paid commensurate with the importance of his contributions to Cal football. Cal has suffered from his absence and, even if Dykes does well in recruiting, I believe will continue to suffer to some extent.

  • BlueNGold

    GoBears49, I think you need to get over it. That was the past, the old regime. Time to look forward. After all, Cal athletics will likely have significant financial challenges to it’s mission in the coming years. It is going to be very important how the school, as a whole, treats and deals with those challenges.

  • Gobears49

    Agree, BlueNGold, but we can learn from the past and make adjustments to our future decision-making accordingly.

    What I hope Cal has learned, or at least thought about, is that when you have a special contributor to any sports program at Cal, which I think Tosh was, who was receiving national recognition in the media for his recruiting efforts for Cal, you figure out how to financially reward him accordingly, especially in reaction to another school trying to poach him from Cal. If the aftermath of what happened after Tosh left, in terms of our football recruiting ranking, doesn’t make Cal focus on financially rewarding special excellence in its sports programs, nothing will. I still maintain that putting the best talent on the sports field is one of the most important elements in having a great football program.