By Ken Reed

Sandy Barbour was recently pushed out as athletic director at the University of California, Berkeley. Her nearly decade-long tenure as AD will be remembered primarily for the timeframe when a great academic school lost its way in an effort to become a big-time athletic factory.

On her watch, the football team finished dead last among the nation’s 72 major conference schools in the category “graduation rate.”

Barbour also spent millions to renovate the school’s football stadium, which left the school $445 million in debt as of a June 2013 estimate. It was an unprecedented amount of borrowing for a college sports project, more than doubling the second place project. It was a major gamble by Barbour, which university officials admit may ultimately involve significant academic funds and student fees.

“It’s disconcerting that the university may be gambling with student fees and other academic funds to cover a massive financial commitment for a football stadium,” said Cal professor Brian Barsky.

One of the nation’s great public universities has been selling its soul to feed the big-time sports pig the past decade. It will be interesting to see what direction the school takes under its new athletic director.

Quote of the Day

Former United States women’s soccer star Brandi Chastain on the drive to ban heading in youth soccer until high school (age 15) in order to protect vulnerable developing brains:

“Why not protect our kids for as long as we can? The bottom line is that hitting your head repeatedly against something is never a good thing.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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