At a recent conference, ESPN College Gameday producer Lee Fitting put out a piece of trivia that will certainly infuriate a ton of California Golden Bears fans, and provide us a glimpse into the issues Cal has historically faced in promoting its athletic programs.
Cal had the chance to host College Gameday in the past...and said no. According to Fitting, it’s the only time any college program has said no to College Gameday.
Fitting was quick to say that Cal turned down College Gameday under previous leadership. Diplomatically, he didn’t say under whose leadership that Cal turned down College Gameday. Since College Gameday has been around for nearly 30 years, there are a host of athletic leaders who could have said no. Best not to point fingers as to who.
The good news is the new Cal Athletics leadership is more than open to being a part of College Gameday. Here are statements released by Lee Fitting and Cal Athletics.
We would welcome any opportunity to host ESPN GameDay. It would be a wonderful chance for us to show off our campus and connect with friends, family and alumni around the world. We had the privilege of hosting the basketball version of GameDay on campus in 2009 and it was a tremendous experience for all.
Lee Fitting, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer
Cal is high on our list of campuses we'd love to visit. I produced College GameDay, basketball edition, at Berkeley and it was one of the best atmospheres in the show's history. We can't wait to bring College GameDay to Cal in the future where I'm confident we will have a similar experience.
Cal has already participated in three College Gamedays, all on road campuses (USC in 2004, Oregon in 2007, Utah in 2015), but are one of the few programs left who hasn’t hosted a College Gameday in football of their own. Cal basketball has hosted a College Gameday in 2009 at Haas Pavilion, when UCLA came to campus.
I’d say the chances of Cal getting College Gameday in Berkeley 2017 are a little remote. Only one game has the slightest chance of getting picked: USC on September 23rd, which would only happen if both Cal and USC are 3-0 and looking sharp.
But hopefully things break our way sooner than later! Lee Corso is overdue to put on an Oski head.