Cal Football Strength and Conditioning Program Review 2.0 Continues to Lurch Through Delays and Confusion

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by Irvin Muchnick

As of this week, the co-director of the second review of University of California-Berkeley football’s strength and conditioning program — which Chancellor Nicholas Dirks launched last fall following a hail of criticism of the first, obviously conflicted review — still had not signed her consulting agreement for the assignment.

Dr. Elizabeth Joy told Concussion Inc. on Monday that her unexecuted contract “was simply a paperwork issue from my office. I believe it was handled today.”

But campus critics say the glitch is revealing of the haphazard and lackadaisical effort to impose administrative oversight of the football strength and conditioning program, three years following the death of player Ted Agu and the criminal beating of another player by a teammate. Both events occurred on the watch of then-strength and conditioning assistant coach Damon Harrington.

Harrington’s year-to-year contract was not renewed after head coach Sonny Dykes was fired in January. (To be clear, Dykes got canned for his won-loss record and for ongoing tepid ticket sales at the expensively retrofitted Memorial Stadium — not over any moral qualms over lack of safety or even death while his hand-picked strength coach was “changing the culture.” Last year Cal gave Dykes a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract extension even while the UC regents were completing a $4.75 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit by the Agu family.)

It is possible that the coaching regime change, to new boss Justin Wilcox, has had an impact on the lagging Review 2.0. So, too, could the impending departure of Chancellor Dirks himself — Carol Christ has been designated to become Cal’s new chief executive on July 1.

Co-review director Dr. Joy, who is medical director for community health and clinical nutrition at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City — and president of the American College of Sports Medicine — declined to tell us how much she was being paid by the university for the review, or to comment substantively on the progress of that work. The other co-director, prominent legal mediator Wayne Brazil, has not responded at all to our queries.

Cal this week did release an outline of the study’s plan, which we have uploaded for view at

Asked for further comment, campus media spokesperson Dan Mogulof emailed tersely: “Work is still underway.”



“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:

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick