SBD/June 27, 2014/Colleges

Stadium Debt, Decline Of Football Program Lead To Resignation Of Cal AD Barbour

Cal produced 19 national team titles during Barbour's tenure
A Cal official on Thursday night confirmed that AD Sandy Barbour "will leave her position next month," according to a front-page piece by Kroner & Asimov of the S.F. CHRONICLE. In Barbour's "decade at the helm of Cal athletics, the school produced 19 national team titles, renovated seismically unsound Memorial Stadium and built a state-of-the-art athletic performance center." But her tenure has been "fraught with problems." They include the "ongoing issues associated with paying off the debt on the stadium and athletic center," estimated in June '13 at $445M, as well as the "decline" of the football program. A "shocking" report in October listed the football program as "having the worst graduation rate among the 72 major-conference universities and the men's basketball program as having the worst graduation rate among Pac-12 schools." That report is "believed to have cost Barbour support among many of the Bears' most loyal alums." Barbour's final day will be July 15, when she will "put together a sports-management program through UC Berkeley Extension." Cal will "hold a news conference" at 1:00pm PT on Friday to introduce an interim AD (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/27). In San Jose, Jon Wilner writes Cal's Olympic sports teams under Barbour's watch "have thrived and the men's basketball program experienced a resurgence under coach Mike Montgomery, arguably her shrewdest hire." But there have been "significant setbacks, as well." Poor budget management "almost forced Cal to eliminate" four sports, including baseball (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/27).

MOVING ON: CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote Barbour's tenure was "marked by her inability to keep the athletic department on a par with bigger money generators at Stanford, Oregon, USC and Arizona." The ADs that "not only survive but also thrive are the ones who can raise money, convince the rich alumni to give that money time and again, and hire the coaches that make it a more joyous experience to give that money." Barbour had "stylistic problems as well, in that she was not a natural schmoozer." She was a "loyal, sincere and devoted toiler for the school, but loyalty, sincerity and devotion don’t get you a cup of coffee unless you can hand the barista a $5 bill." Whoever takes over the position will "find it far more daunting than can easily be understood from the outside." Cal as an entity "has to finally decide at a touchy time for college athletics in general whether it can wed the competing philosophies of athletic department administration: As an adjunct of the academic world, or as a bank" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 6/26). Ratto added, "She is not a glad-hander. I think when you're talking with big alums, they want that sort of one-on-one access, and she didn't really provide it." He said the "debt load that school's got trying to keep that athletic department rolling might have finally just convinced people to say, 'It's time'" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live,' CSN Bay Area, 6/26).
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