With ESPN and USA Today both circulating separate reports that Sonny Dykes might be considering other opportunities once the season ended, the Cal Athletic Department chatted with Ryan Gorcey at Scout to refute any such claims. All of the rumors have been categorically denied.
Here is the official statement from associate athletic director Wes Mallette.
"At the University of California, Berkeley, it's more than just performance on the field," Mallette said. "Performance in the classroom matters just as much. The turnaround that we have seen with our football program since Sonny took over has been tremendous, and he has done everything that's been asked of him. The relationship between our football program and our athletics department is as strong as it has ever been. This is Cal. To find a head coach that understands the delicate balance of managing both the academic and athetic performance side is not an easy task. Sonny has managed to do that, and is doing it well."
The athletic department was quick to assure that Dykes and athletic director Mike Williams have a strong relationship and contract talks are ongoing.
The main component of Mallette's statement focuses on the importance in turning around academics and the promise of improving APR and graduation rates. Due to various transfers, APR dipped in the single-year calculations but is expected to take big leaps in the next two seasons, and graduation rates are still being tabulated from the Jeff Tedford era so there won't be any significant progress on that front for some time.
Will academics be enough to keep the athletic department and the university happy with the direction that Dykes is taking them and offer him a contract extension at the end of the year? And the big question that no one knows the answer to: How much does Sonny want to put up with the incoming academic restrictions? We'll have to see.
(It should be noted that this statement from the athletic department came before Cal's defeat in Oregon.)