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Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour at a crossroads

There's a lot of fire around Sandy Barbour right now. What are your feelings on our athletic director?


Nick Kranz: Sandy's supporters tend to focus on her successes, and her detractors tend to focus on her failures. The reality is that she has a mixed legacy. She was in charge when Memorial stadium was rebuilt, and she has presided over the most successful era in Cal history for non-revenue sports. That means something.

I think the big question is how much blame she deserves for the following decisions:

1. Extension of Jeff Tedford
2. Cutting 4 sports and 'demoting' rugby
3. Academic issues for football and men's basketball
4. The decision to hire Sonny Dykes

1 and 4 are decisions that I and most Cal fans generally supported at the time, so even if the first decision clearly was a mistake, and even if the second decision might end up being a mistake, I have a hard time getting upset at Sandy over it.

I'm not pleased about the academic issues, but I think responsibility for that mostly falls on the head coaches involved, one of which wasn't hired or extended by Sandy Barbour. Still, it counts as an obvious negative.

The decision to cut sports was handled poorly from a communication and marketing perspective, but the actual decision was forced by the recession and campus politics, and the endemic deficit in the athletic department is something that Sandy Barbour inherited. So although it could have gone much, much better, it ultimately worked out reasonably well in that no sports were actually cut.

So for now, I think the positive outweighs the negative. But I can't say that those who believe otherwise are wildly off-base in their criticisms. It's a matter of what you value.

LeonPowe: It puzzles me when I see on other sites that other fanbases feel Sandy is the bottom of the barrel athletic director wise. Well, it doesn't puzzle me, but I think they're operating with incomplete information. The bad stuff is glaringly large - APR rates, the end of the Tedford era, the start of the Dykes era, the numerous questions about stadium financing and ticket sales and alumni support. On the other hand, I don't feel she gets enough credit for the positive stuff that has come under her time - getting the athlete high performance center and stadium refurb through a public university system is exceedingly difficult. Mike Montgomery as a great hire. Keeping Terri Mckeever around and happy. Lindsay Gottlieb. Diane Ninemire. There's a long list of amazing coaches and staff at Cal as well as a very good list of results from non-football sports. I feel positive, but guarded about Ms. Barbour.

Sam Fielder: I think that there is a lot of negative press right now and while there is some cause for some of the hang-wringing and consternation, I also think that Sandy has done a remarkable job with Cal Athletics. When you look at the quality of the varied and different sports that Cal offers and the challenges of budgets and apathy, I don't think you can even begin to say that she should be fired. Has she made some mistakes and is there some room for improvement? Definitely. But I think that when you step back and look at the overall picture and try to understand all the obstacles that Sandy has faced and overcome, I think you real should give her the benefit of the doubt.

Leland Wong: I'm by no means an expert here, but it seems like Barbour has done a pretty strong job with the Olympic sports (with the glaring exception being the cutting-sports fiasco a few years back); the quality of coaches she has hired or retained has been excellent, as Ruey detailed. The Dykes hire hasn't proven itself yet, but I'll give the program a little more time before evaluating her job on that hire. The biggest issue is the failing grad rate for the revenue sports. The numbers are undoubtedly ugly for football and men's basketball, but if she can continue leading those two programs to respectable numbers, then I'll be happy with the job she has done.

Ruey Yen: With all the frustration brewing amongst the Cal fanbase with regards to the poor Cal Football performance for the past two seasons and the poor graduation rate, Sandy Barbour is the obvious scapegoat. I still think that Sandy is doing an okay job, and unless there is some big academic/NCAA scandal that emerges in the near future (not this artificial one about Cal admitting athletes with poor test scores), then her job is quite safe in my mind.

Vlad Belo: I am slightly puzzled by the negativity toward Sandy. By and large, she has done a very good job in her coaching hires across the entirety of Cal's athletic program. The jury is still out, of course, on the Sonny Dykes hire, but her hires of Mike Montgomery and Lindsay Gottlieb for two of Cal's high profile programs have been successful. I understand that the APR numbers were embarrassing to the university and I understand the lingering anger that must be out there about baseball's near demise at Cal. But I just don't know how much of that I lay at her feet.

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