Avinash: When the Pac-12 TV contracts were released, several teams in the conference immediately started pouring their resources into their football programs. The most noticeable names are probably Washington State (who managed to pool money together to land the Pirate), Arizona (who has one of the most dynamic spread coaches in the league in Rich Rod) and of course Washington. One of the top priorities (particularly in Washington's case) was to put a lot of money in their assistant coaches, which is how they got Lupoi and Kiesau to make the move up North.
It appears that Cal has decided to take another path to start out. Jon Wilner with more.
The bottom line: Cal has the money to ramp up its lagging salary pool for assistant coaches. How much? By my calculations, the Bears will have a net gain of $5-6 million in revenue thanks to the new Pac-12 TV deal — and that’s just for 2012-13. The windfall increases over time because of the 4% escalator in the TV deal and the elimination of one-time expenses (such as buying back media rights from IMG). But the school, for various reasons — many of them are admirable and high-minded — has chosen a different fiscal structure for its athletic department in general and football program in particular.
Although I'm not sure who Wilner's sources are, it tends to back up what we've all heard from this story. Otherwise it's hard to explain why we didn't have the money to pay Tosh and the rest of the coaching staff. There might be raises coming, but they weren't significant enough to placate Tosh (and maybe Kiesau, although he seems to be more of a vagabond).
Basically, it looks as if Cal wants to ensure the health of ALL their athletic programs while hoping football can handle its own. Cal has just received a huge renovation project that helped a lot of programs, but primarily it was for the benefit of the football team. So now everyone else believes it's their turn and wants their taste, probably to help upgrade everything else long-term.
Because of the number of sports on campus that need financial assistance, it drains the well for football. So if we were to give Tosh a raise and other coaches were to demand a raise, we probably wouldn't have been able to do it, and we might've been forced with a greater array of defections on our staff. We probably wouldn't have come out any better.
What do you guys think? Should Cal football be the #1 priority of the Athletic Department?
CBKWit: I think that, if we don't make football the #1 priority, then we will continue to be pretty mediocre at football. I think there are basically two routes to football success - recruiting better or coaching better than your opposition. Right now, Oregon is an example of the latter, and Stanford (specifically Andrew Luck) is an example of the former. Tedford has shown over the last half decade that he's not going to outcoach teams - we need to be more talented than our opponents to win consistently. Thus, Tosh's departure is going to hurt us far more than, say, Oregon would get hurt by losing their top recruiter (similarly, Oregon would be hurt much more by Chip Kelly leaving the program, which seems likely to happen in the next few years, than Cal would by Tedford leaving).
If we're not going to invest in football as much as other teams, we're probably not going to get the recruits we need to overcome our mediocre coaching. Then, the money we "saved" will be moot, because football attendance will fall. We need to be successful at football to generate enough revenue to cover our other sports, so we need to either invest more in the Tedford regime in the hopes of bringing in better players, or find a coach that produces better results with commensurate talent.
TwistNHook: The question here isn't really should football be the #1 priority. Football obviously IS the #1 priority. It is the engine of the athletics department.
If football does well, there will be more money for everything else based off results and increased fanbase/donors. It's much harder to do that with a sport with a more limited fanbase like Cal volleyball or baseball, sad to say.
LeonPowe: Not to echo everyone, but here football is really the rising tide that lifts all boats.
Atomsareenough: Exactly. If football pays for everything, then it behooves us to make sure that football is doing as well as it possibly can. Look, I'm all for having a wide variety of programs that provide athletic and academic opportunities to as broad a cross-section of students as possible. I'd hate to see ANY sport get cut, from gymnastics to cross-country to baseball. But if football is paying for most of them, then I think the answer is for them to reduce their dependence as much as they can and to make football as profitable as possible. For the most part, that means winning football games. That means going to and winning a Rose Bowl sometime. We're all diehards and we're going to follow Cal football no matter what, but we're not typical alums, and that doesn't change until we have a consistently successful program.
CBKWit: Thank you all for repeating what I said. It makes me feel "relevant"
Atomsareenough: It's called agreement! We can haz it!
Kodiak: From a pure business sense, it sounds good to call football an investment that pays for the other sports. You can't deny its place as king. For example, an article on our conference-leading basketball team beating our biggest rival got barely 600 page views. On the other hand, an open thread about a high school kid who may or may not ever produce at a Div I college level got over 6000.