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Golden Nuggets: Can Cal Afford to Compete in the Pac-12 North?

This offseason we've seen other Pac-12 schools dish out hefty contracts for new head coaches. Now our own assistants are being bought at prices the University simply cannot afford. ESPN asks a tough question: can the Bears keep up in this arms race?

Thirty-year-old Tosh Lupoi, born and bred a Cal Bear and arguably the top-recruiting assistant coach on the West Coast, bolted Berkeley on Monday for Washington -- a huge blow, 15 days before signing day, to 10th-year coach Jeff Tedford and a landscape-altering move in the Pac-12.

This is reality at Cal, where the athletic department operates under the weight of a budget deficit that exceeded, on average, more than $11 million from 2003 to 2010, according to a university report.

Lupoi, who recently finished his fourth year as defensive line coach under Tedford, reportedly earned $164,000 at Cal. At Washington, he received a new title: defensive run game coordinator -- and, no doubt, a big raise.

How does Cal match that? It can't.

This is the school that axed five sports two years ago and then reinstated baseball months later after fund-raising efforts produced nearly $10 million.

It's astounding to imagine that the University of California's unofficial flagship institution can't compete on an even field with its conference rivals. But it's true.

After the jump we have more on Tosh's departure and the recruiting implications.