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What's your unpopular opinion about Cal Athletics?

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Let's fire up some controversy.

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TwistNHook: It exists to create a convenient excuse for all my friends to get together on a really consistent level for not much money.

Leon Powe: The only reason we have so many rugby national championships is because for many years we were the only school to take it seriously as a sport.

Ragnarok: We collectively take college athletics way too seriously.

Paying close attention to recruiting, and especially the decisions, whims, and social media accounts of 17-year-old kids is weird and kinda creepy. And the notion of a "soft verbal" is some kinda b.s., and not anything resembling a commitment.

The NFL and NBA are using major college programs as a de facto developmental league, and they're not even paying those programs for the privilege. Kids should be able to go straight from high school to the pros if they want, rather than being forced to care about academics for a semester or three when they clearly don't.

The notion of "amateur" student-athletes is broken and meaningly at this point. Someone wants to pay a college kid to endorse their product? Bully for him -- pay the man! And they should definitely be compensated for their likenesses appearing in video games. And if some booster wants to give a kid a do-nothing job or a straight-up envelope filled with cash just because that kid can play sports really well, I think that's silly and a little weird, but it shouldn't affect eligibility to play the game they're being ostensibly compensated for.

Cal's admissions requirements for student-athletes should look more like Stanford's, in that we should go after smart kids who also play sports. Applying the minimum UC requirements at Cal is a joke, and we should all know better than to offer a scholarship to someone who doesn't care that much about actual scholarship or who is woefully underprepared to succeed at a rigorous academic institution like Cal. Lowering the bar a little for someone who brings extra talents like football is fine, but only just a little.

Wednesday - Sunday road trips in basketball are ridiculous. When do these kids go to class?

Nick Kranz: I have one potentially unpopular opinion that concurs with Ragnarok, and another that disagrees. Regarding recruiting - I think it's insane that most/all power 5 teams have multiple websites that exist to provide recruiting coverage. Nothing against people who work in that field, I guess (since half of them are CGB alums) but it seems like an industry that shouldn't exist.

Regarding academics: I don't really care about the academic qualifications of the players involved. I'd prefer that a coach is told that he is expected to keep his players eligible, and to graduate them, and whatever selection criteria he wants to apply to achieve that goal (along with the obvious goal of winning games) is fine. If there's an athlete with a 3.1 GPA in high school, but he cares about academics and the coach believes in his character? Bring him on board. And if that coach brings in a bunch of marginal qualifiers and fails to help them graduate, then the coach is out the door.

Higher entry qualifications haven't fully been put in place yet. We've seen in the past few years that Cal has completely turned around the academic status of the football program with a group of players who mostly (entirely?) wouldn't have been admitted to Cal without football. In my opinion most anybody can graduate from Cal assuming that 1) they actually WANT to graduate and 2) they receive a decent level of academic support, and I think we've seen that borne out in the APR improvements over the last few years.

What we need to figure out is which side of this argument is the unpopular side?

boomtho: I've voiced on the DBD a few times (venture there if you dare..., but I agree with Jon Wilner a lot more than most on his assessment of the state of Cal athletics. I think his assessment of the cultural problems late in Tedford's tenure, skepticism about whether Dykes can get us to the promise land, etc. aligns somewhat with how I think about Cal. That hurts me to type a bit...