As we've mentioned before, Cal Athletics will have to start putting together some pretty stringent academic requirements in place coming in the next few years to try and get the recruits they want. It will be mandatory for the majority of incoming freshmen to have a 3.0 GPA, meaning that recruiting will start having to become a bit more selective.
Mike Vernon of the San Francisco Chronicle covered the story a little bit more and got some interesting quotes, particularly from the interim athletic director Michael Williams.
One: He says that Cal will have to recruit nationally. Williams pointed to Texas as a potential place to go and find players.
Williams pointed to football-crazed Texas as an area where Cal is looking to bolster its presence. Dykes is from Texas and still has strong ties to the region. The Bears are also scheduled to play at the University of Texas next season on Sept. 19.
"That’s where the athletes are, they’re in Texas," Williams said. "The only way we really are going to be able to compete is to recruit Texas."
Now, I've talked before about how this sounds good in theory and extremely difficult in practice. Cal has decent brand recognition in certain areas of the country (mostly in California), but Texas is not one of them. We manage to get a recruit from Texas every so often (Vic Enwere and Noah Westerfield are looking like solid contributors already, and of course there's Daniel Lasco from 2010 and Chris Adcock from 2009), but to start pulling 5 or 6 players every year seems like a tall order. Cal has never pulled more than three players a year from Texas, and at least 60% of our recruits are from California in every class.
The good thing is this coaching staff is familiar with that region of the country, so they should be able to establish connections and keep building relationships in Texas and the south for the near future. But will they be able to do that and hang onto California as well? I do not want to lose our tenuous grasp on Northern California and the Bay Area, which have seen increasing encroachment from many of the Pacific Northwest Pac-12 schools desperate to find California talent.
Two: Williams recommends increasing the recruiting budget.
Cal football spent $313,329 on recruiting costs in 2013, according to the athletic department’s statement of revenue and expenses, and Williams said Cal must increase its recruiting budget to accommodate the new standards. Not only will it cost more to find and recruit out-of-state players, but out-of-state tuition is $34,000 compared with $12,200 for in-state tuition, not including additional fees and room and board.
"While we understand that a nationalized recruiting platform will result in higher costs, we’re still in the process of determining exactly what those numbers are going to look like," said Dan Mogulof, executive director for communication and public affairs.
The recruiting budget is pretty low compared to the majority of Pac-12 schools--Cal currently recruits at a level somewhere between Arizona and Oregon State. Oregon, Colorado (oh no), Washington and UCLA lead the way recruiting-wise in the Pac-12 among public disclosed schools, and USC and Stanford are probably up there too.
That puts Cal in the bottom tier of recruiting budget, which is something that needs to be improved pronto. The state of California education is not great right now, and finding recruits that match the Cal profile just isn't as easy as it seems. This will require a more thorough mining of the California junior college ranks (which I don't mind, but it can't continue to be a regular staple of our recruiting diet--JUCOs bust way too much in comparsion to four-year athletes).
What do you guys think of these recruiting developments? Will Cal need to devote more resources to recruiting? Will the university be willing to divest those resources? Will it distract them too much from trying to put together a winning product on the field? Will it wear down the coaching staff, particularly if they stick around long enough to earn the raises they deserve? Will there be enough money for everyone, especially considering that our athletic department still has a lot of debt that needs to be resolved?
There's just a lot of uneasy questions about this proposal that concern the long-term future of Cal football. I doubt any of them will be answered for quite awhile.