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Per SF Gate: Cal Conducts New Review of Football Drills Program

Once more.

Washington v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Following the report in June by the Chronicle that stated that the evaluators from the first report had ties with the football program’s staff members and allowed said staff to select which student-athletes to interview, the UC Berkeley administration decided to begin another investigation into the case.

The new evaluators, Doctor Elizabeth Joy from the American College of Sports Medicine and Wayne Brazil former federal judge and Berkeley law professor, were chosen by Chancellor Dirks to head the new investigation.

The article continues:

Mogulof emphasized that the new inquiry “is not an investigation” of Harrington or the specifics of what happened to Agu or Hale. UC admitted negligence in Agu’s death and settled the family’s lawsuit for $4.75 million in April, and the football player who injured Hale was suspended; he avoided criminal charges by fulfilling unspecified sanctions imposed by UC Berkeley.

The new evaluation will look at how coaches, trainers, physicians and staff do their work. The idea is to turn Cal football’s strength and conditioning program into “a national leader” for health and safety, Mogulof said.

“I am confident that we have the exact right people leading this effort,” Dirks said in a statement.

Mike Williams, Cal’s athletic director, said, “We see this as a significant opportunity to take a good program and make it even better.”

Some faculty members remain skeptical about the new inquiry. In July, nearly 100 faculty members petitioned Cal officials not to renew Harrington’s $150,000 contract until a new probe could determine whether he violated his employment agreement in a way that placed students in danger. Harrington’s contract was quietly renewed days before the petition was submitted.

“Why has the scope of the (new) inquiry been limited to the question of adequate medical supervision of athletic training?” asked Celeste Langon, an associate professor of English and co-chair of the UC Berkeley Faculty Association, which advocates for faculty interests and helped circulate the petition.

Langon said the group’s concern “is with the broader question of ‘locker room culture’ — in particular, whether coaches are held to the standard of their employment contract, which requires them to act in a manner consistent with their role as ‘instructor of students.’”

Through a Cal spokesman, Harrington declined to comment.

Joy and Brazil have had introductory conversations with “key personnel” in Cal Athletics, according to a university statement. Throughout football season, which ends this month, the evaluators will collect information and learn about best practices.

In January, they’ll begin observing the program and will interview coaches, students and others connected to the team.

“The timing could not be better,” Brazil said in the statement, noting that the team focuses on strength and conditioning during the offseason, which will allow the reviewers to “observe firsthand how the program’s philosophy, practices and principles are put into action.”

A draft report will go to campus officials for feedback in early spring, and the final report will be made public.

This article was written by Nanette Asimov

Can’t wait for Cal to end this chapter of the football program.