California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has turned up the heat on Cal’s search for its next athletic director.
Newsom, a member of the UC Regents, wrote a letter to University of California president Janet Napolitano reminding everyone of recent poor graduation rates by Cal athletes in football and basketball.
Newsom argued that academic improvement should be a mandate included in the contract of the university’s next AD, with the failure to do so grounds for termination.
Here is an excerpt of his letter:
“The resignation of the UC Berkeley athletic director Sandy Barbour triggered a nationwide search for her replacement; this gives the search committee the opportunity to prioritize academics. The next director must put academics first and be held accountable through direct financial and contractual obligations.
“The athletic director’s contract should stipulate aggressive benchmarks for improvement in graduation and academic progress rates or face termination, period. We cannot skirt around the edges of the problem. If our goal as a university is to educate, then we should make it a contractual priority. I propose we start with the UC Berkeley athletic director, but this is only a beginning. It is my hope that we make this the new standard for every athletic program.”