Although Cal's stadium is absolutely beautiful, their football facilities are not so good, especially in relation to other schools, which is hampering their efforts at recruiting. This has been an issue for a long time but has really come to the fore since Coach Tedford made the team so successful so fast. In doing so he has become a constant on or near the top of vacant head coaching position wish lists, both college and NFL. It is not a well kept secret that Tedford's biggest frustration at Cal is the poor facilities, and also that it is commonly accepted wisdom that upgrading the facilities is the key to keeping Tedford at Cal in the short, medium, and long term.
Cal's Memorial Stadium
So to solve the problem Cal is ready to break ground and build a fancy new facility with all the bells & whistles - weight room, locker rooms, team meeting room, etc., etc., not just for football but for a dozen other Cal sports as well. So problem solved you would think.
You would be wrong, for this is Bezerkeley. Treehuggers, NIMBYs, lovers of famed Tightwad Hill, and even the city of Berkeley oppose the plans for various reasons, and lawsuits abound.
So yesterday a judge slapped an injunction on the whole project, which will delay its commencement for 6 months, a year, or maybe forever. The media has focused mostly on the tree-huggers, who are protesting the fact that 140 old growth oak trees will be demolished to make room for the new building by climbing up and living in the trees, even though the University has pledged to plant 3 trees for every one that is removed. They have been there since the Big Game over 6 weeks ago.
This picture will appear in the Knoxville or
Tuscaloosa papers right around never.
Media coverage today will give the idea that the tree-huggers stopped the project and won, but in reality the reason for the injunction was the fact that the Hayward Fault runs directly beneath Memorial Stadium as well as the projected new building, and the injunction was given about concerns about meeting earthquake safety standards.
Tedford is saying all of the right things but at the same time it seems pretty evident that he is frustrated and pissed off about the whole thing.
Offensive guru trying to build a successful
gameplan to defeat the tree-hugging hippies
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out on many levels, from the spectacle and idealism of the various Berkeley protest groups (any time a 90 year old lady climbs up into trees to protest it is interesting to say the least) to the need for modern amenities by the University, as well as how it all will affect said University's ability to keep one of the most coveted coaches in football at their school, and the fear that if they lose said coach they will return to being utterly average.
Expect appeals, more courtroom drama, more activism in the trees, and NFL and college programs to come hard at Tedford and try more than ever to lure him away. Stay tuned.