carp's News and World Report
All links SF Gate, SFW, and should open in a new window unless otherwise noted. Cal related stories are in blockquotes for your rapid retrieval pleasure.
Our DBD kicks things off with a doozy: Cal profs want Cal Athletics to stop subsidizing sports.
But a growing number of Cal academics are disturbed by the practice, arguing that the prestigious research university should not subsidize elite athletes at a time of soaring college costs, faculty furloughs and reduced course offerings.
The faculty, which will debate the issue at next month's Faculty Senate meeting, is not alone. Now the independent Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics - formed 20 years ago by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to raise academic standards in college sports - is turning its attention to an out-of-control "arms race" among college football programs competing to pay increasingly high coaches' salaries and other associated costs.
"The data is eye-opening and quite troubling - athletic expenditures are rising three or four times faster than academic budgets," said William "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. He's co-chairman of the Knight Commission, which on Monday released a survey of university presidents' views on the cost of programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the nation's 120 top college football teams.
"We're painfully aware of the global fiscal implosion and the impact it's having on academic institutions," Kirwan said. "As a result, 75 percent of presidents say we can't continue on this path."
Only 24 of the 120 top teams operate in the black, with deficits averaging $10 million per school, he said.
Those deficits are typically made up by loans or gifts of university funds.
This year, UC Berkeley's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics - whose football team is in the Bowl Subdivision - is projected to run a deficit of nearly $6 million, rising to $6.4 million next year.
To make ends meet, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau expects to lend the athletes more than $12 million by the end of next year from a $165 million discretionary fund of interest income, gifts and undesignated bequests, said Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof.
The athletics department itself has a budget of nearly $65 million, which it uses for everything from heating the swim team's pool to paying football coach Jeff Tedford's salary - $2.3 million last year.
No tax money goes into that budget. Mogulof said it's funded from a combination of revenue from the men's football and basketball teams, gifts, student registration fees and the chancellor's funds.
It's not enough
But the income isn't enough. For years, the athletics department has spent more than it has taken in.
"The chancellor is disturbed by these deficits and is pressing athletics to close the gap as quickly as possible," Mogulof said, noting that the terms of repayment for the current loans have not been decided.
The last time the athletes ran up a multiyear debt - owing the university $31.4 million by 2007 - the bill was forgiven, according to a written explanation of Cal's athletics budget and policies prepared in response to questions from the faculty.
Some debt-ridden academic programs have also had loans forgiven, the document says.
But Birgeneau "is fully committed to ensuring that the short-term loans will be paid back in full," Mogulof said.
Meanwhile, a group of faculty members who have dubbed themselves a Sports Grinch Club objects to the use of any university funds being spent on intercollegiate athletics.
"We ought to stop subsidizing this program," said Michael O'Hare, a professor at Cal's Goldman School of Public Policy. He and others say the loss to the school far outweighs any benefit because elite athletes generally have lower graduation rates and receive unfair benefits compared with regular students.
He said the Faculty Senate - the voice of tenured instructors in university governance - will consider a nonbinding resolution at its Nov. 5 meeting to end the subsidies.
Renowned Bay Area Landscape Architect Lawrence Halprin dies:
Lawrence Halprin, the Bay Area landscape architect who pushed the design of America's urban spaces in new directions over a career that spanned 60 years, died Sunday of natural causes. He was 93.
He left his mark at all scales, from the crafting of San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square in the 1960s to the transformation of the 52-acre base of Yosemite Falls that was completed in 2005.
Mr. Halprin's best-known national work is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. - a saga that began when he won a design competition in 1976 but wasn't completed until the memorial opened in 1997.
"He was the single most influential landscape architect of the postwar years," said Charles Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation. "He redefined the profession's role in cities."
The article notes that he also did Greenwood Common and Sproul Plaza.
California’s never ending water war continues, this time involving Delta water which provides water for 24 million people or two-thirds of the entire state population (including SoCal). I don’t know about you, but I’m a little skeptical the yahoos in Sacramento are going to get this right.
‘Shroom in Mendocino.
Cougar has her prey: "Age thing" doesn’t stop this San Mateo couple:
Greg Sanders was 21 and a recent transplant from St. Louis when the naturally exuberant Debra DuPree, then 35, drove up next to him on Highway 101 and started waving her hands. His truck was splashed with stickers for Dent Wizard, advertising dent repair. He thought the animated blonde was trying to get him to pull over and give her an estimate.
For runaways, sex buys survival (NYT).
Well this is depressing: Only 2% of integrated circuits used for military purposes are built in the USA. The article says that Trojan horses represent one of the most severe threats to our military (NYT).
We didn’t start the fire: CalFire possibly lit up the Santa Cruz mountains. I believe they’re typically a rag-tag unit comprised of firefighters no city or county would want coupled with prisoners.
Chronicle’s new strategy is working: Charge more, distribute less. Not to worry, I still get their news for free. Did you know a NYT regional office went up in SF and will deliver a 2-4 page long Bay Area section?
In the first of a seven part series, the NYT present skullduggery. This article is in regards to FDR and the Dakota droughts of 1936.
Cancer: Treatment and Research
In what I consider to be kick-ass news, Cal and UCSF are teaming up to understand cancer:
Scientists at UC Berkeley and UCSF have formed a research center to explore the physical principles that govern the origin and behavior of cancer cells, and how they multiply in humans.
With a five-year, $15.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, the UC researchers have formed the Physical Sciences-Oncology Center where they will seek to understand the mysterious ways that cancer - its onset and responses to radiation and chemotherapy - are subject to the laws of physics.
The NCI announced the new grant Monday and said that related centers with similar goals have been created at 11 other major universities and research centers, and that all the groups will be collaborating with each other.
Physicists, chemists, engineers and mathematicians will be linked with physicians to probe the mechanisms of the disease's many aspects. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UCSF's Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center also will be included.
"By bringing a fresh set of eyes to the study of cancer, these new centers have a great potential to advance, and sometimes challenge, accepted theories about cancer and its supportive microenvironment," said Dr. John E. Niederhuber, the NCI director. "Physical scientists think in terms of time, space, pressure, heat, and evolution in ways that we hope will lead to new understandings of the multitude of forces that govern cancer - and with that understanding, we hope to develop new and innovative methods of arresting tumor growth and metastasis."
Director of the new UC center is Berkeley research biophysicist Jan T. Liphardt, and the co-director is UCSF pathologist Thea Tlsty. Neither could be reached for comment.
If there are any undergrads or grads reading this, think about getting involved with this. What a perfect combination. Thank you stimulus money!
Cancers can vanish without treatment…but how? (NYT). Also, MD Anderson might be the best thing ever associated with Houston (NYT). I mean, it’s a helluva lot better than Bush International Airport, amirite?
And the Taylor Mays/dirty player thing continues: Pac10 suspends ref for missing facemask call in USC-Oregon St game.
Wilner has an interesting piece re: the WAC and Boise St (Merc).
The human body was built for running distance (NYT).
World Series managers have different styles:
Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel is a 65-year-old potbellied baseball lifer who honed his instincts in minor league outposts like Colorado Springs and Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. He comes armed with data but is more likely to play a hunch, to go with his gut. His counterpart on the Yankees, Joe Girardi, is a 45-year-old workout fanatic with a degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern. As much as any manager around, he is comfortable with statistics and employs a modern approach to his job.
It’s about as official as it can be: Cal’s pass defense is struggling right now. Cal’s secondary was again lit up for major yardage on Saturday, this time from true freshman Jeff Tuel. Tuel had a career day, going 28-42 for 354 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. As some comparison, check out Tuel’s numbers in previous outings:
Against ASU: 11-22, 175 yards, and 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Against USC: 14-22, 130 yards, 1 INT
Yes. Cal allowed Tuel to rack up more than double the yardage of his ASU performance. Perhaps Tuel suddenly clicked as a quarterback. Perhaps. However, it’s far more likely that he faced off against a secondary that has some major issues, as this isn’t the first time this season.
Last week, UCLA frosh QB Kevin Prince also had a career day, completing 21 of 41 for 311 yards. His previous performances had included a 13-25 for 81 yard (1 INT) game against Arizona, and a 11-23, 101 yard (1 TD) game against Tennessee.
Two weeks prior to that game, USC true frosh Matt Barkley went 20-35 for 283 yards, also his highest yardage total of the season.
In the week before that, Oregon’s Jeremiah Masoli who had just completed 45.3% of his passes for just 379 yards went ballistic on the Bears, going 21-15 for 253 yards and 3 TDs.
The list goes on: Minnesota’s Adam Weber going 21-32 for 226 yards, EWU Matt Nichol’s efficient 23-31 for 195 yards and 1 TD game, etc.
As it stands now, the Bears are ranked 9th in the conference, just ahead of WSU, in passing yards allowed per game, with 271. That’s a whole heck of a lot of yards.
Now, to be fair, opposing teams throw on the Bears…a lot. Cal has the second highest number of passes thrown at them a game, so it’s expected that teams might rack up the yards in the air. But I think it might be more indicative of opposing teams' knowledge of our vulnerablity in our secondary right now.
We’ll talk about the pass rush in a second, but it became apparent that the yardage allowed on Saturday was more on the secondary than anything else. From what I’ve been seeing over the past few weeks and from what I gathered from the broadcast, defenders missed tackles, and weren’t closing on the ball quickly enough. There are also several plays in which there was miscommunication in zone coverage, allowing receivers to get open up top. And in some instances, like the TD over Nnabuife, some players just got straight up beat in their attempt to go up and make a play on the ball.
No one will dispute Cal's secondary struggled on Saturday. Both Bob Gregory and Coach Tedford admitted as much. But you can’t dispute the numbers anymore. Allow 354 passing yards to the worst offense in the conference is bad. Allowing 300+ yards in back to back games to the conference's two worst passing offenses is ever worse. And allowing 250+ yards through the air in the last four games is enough to make you sweat. And while I do think much of it was effort and focus, the results over the season thus far suggest that Cal’s secondary is the obvious weak spot of the entire defense, and perhaps the entire team. (Thank you Captain Obvious!)
Now with Cal’s offense ability to score a great deal, and the fact that we’ve played one-dimensional offenses the past few weeks, Cal’s secondary hasn’t been enough to cost the Bears any games. But unless the issues in the secondary and defensive schemes are addressed in the next few weeks, Cal is going to be unable to keep up with some of the better offenses they will see in Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington (if Locker gets going).
Anyone else see Sean Canfield against the Trojans on Saturday night? Scary.
Pass Rush TBD
I had suggested last week that Cal’s issue in its pass defense started first and foremost in the pass rush. And in a way, we saw this validated a bit on Saturday. Cal managed just one sack in the first half, meanwhile allowing Tuel to go 15-22 for 232 yards and 2 TDs. Coincidentally, after the Bears switched to having 4 down linemen for much of the second half, the Bears racked up four additional sacks, meanwhile limited Tuel to just 122 yards on 13-20 passing.
I don’t think the players suddenly decided to try harder. Perhaps it was a renewed focus after the defensive letdown in the second quarter, but I do think that this defense may have to dial up more aggressive packages if they’re going to hold more legitimate offense to less than 20 points in upcoming games.
Kudos to the Bears’ D-Line, which has thus far been the rock of this defense this season. They’re going to continue to get additional support from their linebackers, when it comes to the pass rush though.
Jason Snell (EMFMV) has an interesting post up re: strength of schedule:
I was perusing Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings this morning. His composite ranking places Cal 17th in the country overall, though his Predictor rating (which is more accurate, though less politically correct because it takes into account margin of victory) places them 28th.
I was more amused by the ratings of the teams Cal has played this year. Talk about three stinkers: Maryland is rated 115th overall (below a few I-AA schools), Washington State is rated 119th, and I-AA Eastern Washington is rated just one slot below the Cougars at 120th.
Cal’s other wins were over Sagarin #42 UCLA and Sagarin #59 Minnesota.
In contrast, Cal’s losses? To Sagarin #3 Oregon and Sagarin #5 USC. That’s the good news. The bad news? Cal has yet to play Sagarin #14 Arizona, Sagarin #23 Stanford, and Sagarin #24 Oregon State. In terms of the pure Predictor rating, Sagarin would predict that Cal will finish the season 9-3, with wins over Arizona, ASU, and Washington and a loss to Stanford (!). I can’t really call that an unreasonable prediction. It might even be optimistic.