University of California Releases Football Strength Coach Harrington’s ‘Player Contract’ — Not Same as the One Published by Concussion Inc., and It Just Raises More Questions

Muchnick’s CareerPro Inc. Interview (full text)
June 28, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Comes to Life: ‘Critics Question Cal’s Probe Into Football Coach’s Actions’
June 29, 2016
Muchnick’s CareerPro Inc. Interview (full text)
June 28, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Comes to Life: ‘Critics Question Cal’s Probe Into Football Coach’s Actions’
June 29, 2016

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,”

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series:

Installments to date in THE TED AGU PAPERS:



by Irvin Muchnick

Late yesterday the University of California-Berkeley released to Concussion Inc. a document the university had been obligated to turn over previously, but didn’t, to the lawyers for the parents of Ted Agu in the civil lawsuit over Agu’s death in an extreme workout orchestrated by head football coach Sonny Dykes’ strength and conditioning coach, Damon Harrington.

Below is the full statement given to us by Wesley Mallette, Cal’s associate athletics director for strategic communications. At, you can view the document Mallette attached.

First things first: Cal is not really denying that it illegally concealed the “Winter Workout Contract,” which gave rise to Agu’s fatal collapse during an extreme conditioning drill on February 7, 2014.

“We have no record,” Mallette said, of the document about which this reporter wrote at, and which Concussion Inc. simultaneously uploaded to, Mallette called the two documents “similar.” However, they are not similar at all in the sense that Cal’s is basically just the first of the four pages we published.

“The term ‘massive’ was not used” in the version sent along yesterday, Mallette helpfully added.

Maybe so. But a plain reading of Harrington’s deposition transcript confirms that neither version was provided to the Agu plaintiffs.

In any case, the word “massive” is but a contributing detail of the Harrington “contract” — heinous on its face, and by any reasonable standard in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules on both practice time and coerced “voluntary” participation.

Mallette said nothing about Harrington’s “grave digger” drill, part of the “combative” category in our version of the document. Nor did Mallette answer the question of whether such insanity conformed to university policy.

Instead, Mallette debated a straw man: whether the “contract” was a binding legal instrument, as opposed to a control tool by a wacko coach whom no responsible institution would continue to put in charge of impressionable 18- to 22-year-olds — much less on pain of implied loss of their scholarships.

That the output of the supremely sick Dykes-Harrington workout regime comprised, within a span of little more than three months, the severe beating by one player (J.D. Hinnant) of another (Fabiano Hale), plus the eminently avoidable death of a third (Ted Agu), seems not to register with a public university that enjoys a global reputation for educational excellence. Cal hasn’t fired Harrington and gives no indication that it will. The chief “reform” revealed by my exchange with Mallette is that Golden Bears football no longer uses the word “contract” in what they still maintain is a routine form of coach/”student-athlete” mutual understanding.

All in all, the stench of Agu’s criminal death hangs over my state university like the tons of offal from the white elephant scheme of Memorial Stadium’s renovation, which has yielded “massive” — there’s that word again — debt, and which in turn is crippling Cal’s core mission.

More soon from here as the university releases additional documents — or, alternatively, resumes playing games with them — in public records requests for the statement by a Cal player to campus police regarding Harrington’s sadistic methods; for administrators’ internal emails on the scandal; and for the purported “review” of the football strength and conditioning program by Dr. Jeffrey Tanji of UC Davis.

(Meanwhile, Nancy O’Malley, the district attorney of Alameda County, and her staff are still figuratively sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA WHAT DID YOU SAY? LA-LA-LA-LA-LA WHAT POLICE STATEMENT?”)

And once again: Great job, San Francisco Chronicle, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and other mainstream so-called journalism outlets. You’re all over the Ted Agu story.

Congratulations, as well, to all the intelligent football fans of the Bay Area. You don’t deny and cover up rape, like Baylor and all those other backward schools. No, siree. You just deny and cover up homicide.



We have no record of the document posted on your blog which is different in a number of respects from documents we have located in our files. Although similar, the term “massive” was not used in the original version. I am including a PDF of the original for your convenience.

Regarding the document you are referring to between Coach Harrington and our football student-athletes (Winter 2014), the original agreement uses the term “contract”. Please note that this is not an official “contract” and that term is no longer used. Also, it is common practice for coaches at every level of sport to have a set of agreements with their student – or professional – athletes. These agreements are often referred to as “contracts” by the coaches and are designed to set expectations on subjects ranging from how athletes conduct themselves on social media to dress code to behavior and more.

To further clarify, although the team still holds a “competition” in the winter, there is no high-risk punishment involved. The actual “punishment” referenced in the original version of the document was 25 “up-downs” which were to be done in front of the team. An “up-down” is a physical activity that requires one to transition from a running in place position to the ground where one executes a push-up then bounces back up onto his feet to begin jogging in place again before repeating the exercise.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick