Tree Sitters are gone? Now what for Cal's stadium?

September, 23, 2008
9/23/08
1:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Stadium projects are often portrayed as excessive expressions of vanity by athletic departments -- gaudy proliferations due to the big-time football arms race that betray the fundamental mission of universities.

And they sometimes are. Perhaps more often than not.

But California's situation doesn't fit that description (Washington's doesn't much either, but this entry is about Memorial Stadium, not crumbling Husky Stadium).

Strawberry Canyon is one of the best places in the nation to watch a game. Under coach Jeff Tedford, the Bears have become a big-time program, packing the stands every Saturday.

But Memorial Stadium is an absolute mess (this linked story from Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle does a great job of explaining just how much of a mess).

What the story also shows: This project isn't about luxury boxes for fat-cat boosters -- none are planned -- but it will be expensive and time consuming, with a tentative completion date set for 2014 (and we know how firm those things typically are).

The Tree Sitters are down, so the circus is over. But the issues -- and fundraising -- ahead are considerable.

Which means that even though Tedford is the second-highest paid coach in the Pac-10 behind USC's Pete Carroll and the highest paid California state employee, his name will be floated this winter when a handful of marquee jobs -- in and out of the Pac-10 -- open up.

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