Controversial UC Berkeley Administrator, at Center of Ted Agu Football Death Cover-Up, Goes Through Revolving Door to Join the Learfield University Marketing Firm

Published July 21st, 2017, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

A former University of California-Berkeley deputy athletic director who was a central figure in the cover-ups surrounding the 2014 death of football player Ted Agu, and who later switched to a lucrative and controversial central administration job coordinating corporate marketing partnerships, has left the school to join one of those partners.

The Texas-based Learfield company today announced that Solly Fulp, the university’s executive director for university partnerships and services, is joining Learfield to head a business called “Campus+.”

Campus+ is described as having as its “sole focus” the creation of “strategic partnerships between universities and blue-chip corporate partners.” The full text of the press release is below. The Learfield website link for the release is https://www.learfield.com/2017/07/solly-fulp-to-lead-learfields-campus/.

At Cal, Fulp made a minimum of $230,000 a year plus perks. Campus critics of this position, which was created for Fulp via a hiring procedure that skirted rules for public announcement and open search and interviews, believe that Fulp also might have earned commissions on corporate “partnerships” he helped negotiate. So far no internal documents have emerged to prove this suspicion, but university sources tell Concussion Inc. that pertinent records requests have been filed.

In the athletic department, Fulp was the official who counseled whistleblower football player Joey Mahalic to talk to campus police following the February 2014 death of Agu, after Mahalic expressed concerns about the punishment drills of Damon Harrington, the strength and conditioning assistant on the staff of head football coach Sonny Dykes. (Harrington would be released shortly after Dykes was fired early this year, for reasons unrelated to the Agu death, cover-up, and $4.75 million settlement of the Agu family’s lawsuit against the university.)

The key to the statements Mahalic made, both to police and in a deposition in the Agu lawsuit, is that he linked Harrington’s actions surrounding the Agu death to those three months earlier, when the conditioning coach’s speech to a group of players was interpreted by one player, J.D. Hinnant, as “code red” authorization to batter into unconsciousness another player, Fabiano Hale, who had skipped a workout and caused teammates to endure extra sets of Harrington’s punishment drills.

In the next post, we will republish links to all our Solly Fulp-related coverage.

In May this reporter sued the UC Regents under the California Public Records Act, claiming that the university was illegally withholding from public release internal documents shedding light on the background of the player-on-player altercation and the Agu death. The parties have told the Alameda County Superior Court that they are currently exploring a possible settlement.

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SOLLY FULP TO LEAD LEARFIELD’S CAMPUS+

Industry Veteran Will Lead Priority University-Wide Division for Learfield

PLANO, Texas Solly Fulp, a recognized leader in intercollegiate athletics for more than 20 years, has been appointed executive vice president for Learfield’s Campus+ business. Campus+ already represents campus-wide sponsorship opportunities at over a dozen institutions and is dedicated to creating broad strategic relationships beyond athletics, between corporate and university partners

Fulp will lead Campus+ for Learfield beginning September 1 from the Bay Area, where he currently resides and most recently served two years as executive director-university business partnerships and services for University of California, Berkeley. Prior to that, he was deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer nearly four years. During his tenure at UC Berkeley, he led the Kabam naming rights agreement, as well as campus-wide partnership agreements with Bank of the West, Brita, Under Armour and Peet’s Coffee. Fulp’s reputable career in the collegiate landscape also is highlighted by serving more than five years in senior positions with IMG College/ISP Sports. Fulp earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and his master’s degree from Sacramento State. He is also a faculty member for UC Berkeley’s prestigious Haas School of Business teaching an undergraduate class in sport management.

“I’m excited about joining the Learfield team and leading Campus+,” said Fulp. “Learfield is defined by outstanding people and is an admired leader in collegiate athletics that has developed trusted relationships on campuses. I look forward to working with our senior leadership, national sales team and general managers to develop innovative campus partnerships that generate valued services, meaningful programming and new revenues for Learfield universities.”

Learfield formally introduced the Campus+ name last fall. Its sole focus is creating strategic partnerships between universities and blue-chip corporate partners. Learfield, which represents multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives for nearly 130 collegiate properties nationwide, leverages Campus+ through those relationships and several partners are deeply engaged such as Colorado State University, University of Louisville and Texas A&M University.

“We are very bullish on Campus+. We know the immense value of what these integrated, authentic relationships can mean for both university and corporate partners. We’re more committed than ever to delivering the best service and outcomes straight into the field,” said Learfield Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Andy Rawlings. “I’ve known Solly for a long, long time and I’m just thrilled with the tremendous expertise, working knowledge and leadership he brings to this team. I’m also grateful for the work Mark Devine has done to date in launching this business for us, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as he launches his own consulting business in the college space, something I know he’s wanted to do for some time.”

“We are very appreciative of Solly’s leadership and revenue generation successes at UC Berkeley,” said Vice Chancellor-Chief Financial Officer Rosemarie Rae. “Learfield is an outstanding partner, and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with Solly and Learfield.”

Cal is one of 13 collegiate partners that Learfield has a multimedia rights relationship with in the state of California. The company has had a deep presence in the collegiate athletics landscape for more than four decades and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. In addition to campus-wide business and sponsorship development, Learfield provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.

 

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My op-ed article for the Daily Californian on my Public Records Act lawsuit: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/04/19/journalist-files-lawsuit-uc-regents-alleging-breach-california-public-records-act/

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=10931

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series: http://concussioninc.net/?p=10877

Concussion Inc.’s ebook THE TED AGU PAPERS: A Black Life That Mattered — And the Secret History of a Covered-Up Death in University of California Football is available on Kindle-friendly devices at http://amzn.to/2aA2LDl. One hundred percent of royalties are being donated to sickle cell trait research and education.