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Golden Nuggets: Tedford's Academic Game Plan

First off, many thanks to Ted Miller for linking yesterday's Golden Nuggets in today's lunch links!

Also, although you people don't vote much in royrules22's oh-so-easy-to-use top-25 ballot, you should all go and vote for Shane Vereen in ESPN's All-American Player of the Week Award!  And then you should put your CGB tax dollars to work and go vote in royrules22's poll.

Now, to the news.  Wilner has an extensive article on the changes Tedford has made to Cal football's approach to academics. First, some stats

All figures refer to freshmen who entered school in the fall of 2002, Tedford’s first year as coach:

* 71 percent of the Cal football players went on to graduate within the allotted six-year window. That’s close to the rate for all of Cal’s male student-athletes (78 percent).

* Cal’s players graduated at a much higher rate than the national average for major college football players (55 percent). Just a few years ago, the Bears were below the national average.

* The graduation rate for African-American players, who make up the majority of Cal’s roster, was 67 percent. That’s 20 points higher than the major college average and two points higher than Cal’s overall graduation rate for black male students.

* There is room for improvement: The football team continues to graduate at a lower rate than Cal’s male students (87 percent). But the Bears are clearly moving in the right direction.

"It’s been very rewarding," Tedford said. "Sometimes, it takes kids a little while to figure it out, and when the light goes on – you see as much self-esteem gained by success in the classroom as on the field."

After the jump, we look at Tedford's Academic Game Plan--the policies and procedures that have had such a tremendous impact on graduation rates.  We also have updates on which players won player of the week honors, updated power rankings, Wilner's report card, post-game notes, quotes from Tepper, Thompson, and Vereen, a recap of women's bball's loss yesterday, as well as a recap of a tough weekend in Cal sports.

Tedford's Academic Game Plan has paved the way for these tremendous changes in graduation rates.

Introduced to Tedford during his final season as an assistant coach at Fresno State (1997), the Academic Game Plan helps the players prepare for their studies as they would prepare for a game. Coaches are heavily involved, and there’s a premium placed on accountability. Penalties can be assessed.

There’s even something that resembles a playbook. Each player has a black, spiral-bound planner with a semester’s worth of class schedules, assignments and grades.

One chapter is called the "Scouting Report." It provides a place to record all homework, projects, quizzes and tests.

The "Lineup Card" is where players keep their daily, weekly and monthly schedules.

Grades are recorded in the "Scoreboard" section. There’s a column for "possible score" and a column for "earned score."

Every Sunday and Wednesday night throughout the season – and on other nights during the offseason – the players meet with their position coach to review the academic playbook.

"As a freshman, you think, ‘What’s this all about? It’s just another thing I have to do,’?" junior linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "Then you put the time in, and you figure out that it really works. It keeps you up to date with everything.

"The Game Plan definitely takes time. But the time you gain from being organized far outweighs the cost."

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