2 new reviewers chosen to lead inquiry into Cal football strength, conditioning program

Phillip Downey/File

Two new reviewers were chosen to lead an inquiry into the Cal football strength and conditioning program after the San Francisco Chronicle reported in June that the previous review was conducted by people with personal ties to Cal Athletics.

That initial review took place in the aftermath of a strenuous training session in 2014 during which Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu, who had sickle cell trait, died. The university admitted negligence on its part was a substantial factor in Agu’s death in January before settling a lawsuit with the Agu family for $4.75 million in April.

The new review will be led by Elizabeth Joy, a doctor and president of the American College of Sports Medicine, and Wayne Brazil, a former UC Berkeley School of Law professor and federal judge.

“We are very fortunate to have working with us two extraordinary individuals who, together, bring the exact sort of expertise we need,” said Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in the release Monday announcing the news. “There is nothing more important than the health and well being of our students, and I am confident that we have the right people leading this effort.”

The new review — which Dirks called for in July — is in its first stage, with Brazil and Joy studying relevant scientific literature to compare Cal football’s practices with the strength and conditioning practices of other programs .

This stage is expected to last until the end of football season, after which Brazil and Joy will observe the program and interview players, coaches and medical staff from Cal’s program.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof told the San Francisco Chronicle that this review is not a look at Damon Harrington’s job status or the Agu case.

“We see this as a significant opportunity to take a good program and make it even better,” said athletics director Mike Williams in the release.

Joy and Brazil are both getting paid for taking on this role, but the final amount is not yet known as the reviewers are expected to be paid on an hourly basis. The expectation is that the report will be finalized in the spring.

Hooman Yazdanian is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hoomanyazdanian

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied that the campus had not yet established compensation for the reviewers. In fact, the reviewers will bill the campus on an hourly basis, so the total cost of hiring reviewers cannot be calculated until their work is complete.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article omitted an attribution to the San Francisco Chronicle for information regarding Damon Harrington’s involvement in the review.
A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to the review as an investigation.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the final report’s recommendations will be implemented in spring. In fact, the campus has yet to determine when the recommendations will be implemented, as the report is not complete at this time.
Because of misinformation from a source, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the review would likely start at the beginning of 2017. In fact, the review is already underway.