Dan Wolken of the USA Today tweeted out the following.
If I were Virginia, I would make a run at Sonny Dykes. https://t.co/LSgDa96BVr— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 1, 2015
@jpease1223 He wants out.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 1, 2015
@jpease1223 If you're a coach, the AD matters.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 1, 2015
In a conversation with Wolken, he told me "the academic restrictions [at Cal] and contract issue all play into rumblings in the industry that Dykes would be open to other jobs."
Regarding the relationship between athletic director Mike Williams and Dykes, Wolken says he is "not sure there is a very strong relationship there." Regarding Williams, "he's sort of disengaged in terms of management style."
Williams has not publicly committed to an extension for Dykes and apparently is taking a "wait-and-see" approach before making a decision after the season ends. So it seems like this will all come down to the inevitable contract talks at the end of the season.
A few thoughts here.
It's starting to feel like Sonny Dykes will not return to Cal next season without guarantees for his long-term security with the Bears. I'd imagine he wants a lengthy extension, probably of at least three years or more.
Dykes's contract runs through the end of 2017, making him essentially a lame duck if he returns in 2016 with no extension of any sort. I'd also imagine he wants a salary bump of some sort--Dykes is currently the lowest paid head coach in the Pac-12 by base salary.
But if no extension of any sort comes, I could see him look around. There might be as many as two dozen FBS coaching openings come December. There will be plenty of programs who would love to take a flyer on Dykes and see what he's capable of after guiding Cal back from hell in 2013.
Normally, I'd feel comfortable in saying that Dykes would stay at Cal until year four. I feel like he is generally committed to the long haul at Cal and loves having himself and his family in the Bay Area.
But he has to think of his career too. If he receives no extension, then there is a very good chance Cal could be worse next season if they lose Jared Goff, which in turns could shroud Dykes's future in doubt.
Now on the other side, Sonny reportedly being unhappy with the academic restrictions is an issue. It certainly must restrict the players he can go after on the recruiting side and forces an additional academic load on his players during the season. Players reportedly had to spend time on academic coursework during the bye week, which could have contributed to Cal's sluggish performance against UCLA.
Obviously Williams wants to wait and see before deciding on whether Dykes has earned a long-term deal at Cal. The Bears are 5-3 and I'd imagine he wants to see a good finish in the closing stretch of the season.
The supposed lack of relationship between the athletic director and the coach is really worrisome. You'd think Williams would be more proactive in engaging his head coach after taking the job, but it appears there is some disconnect there right now.
With a month until the end of the regular season, it looks like this offseason for Cal football will come down to the following: Sonny getting extended long-term, or Sonny leaving for another program.