There’s this old joke around Berkeley that nobody actually knows what the town’s famous university is called. UC Berkeley, Cal Berkeley, California, and a few other permutations get tossed around—most notably “Berkeley,” which academic departments use to refer to the school, and “Cal,” the preferred moniker of the athletics department. Usually, that schism is nothing more than a quirk in nomenclature, but not now. Instead, what began with an investigation into if an assistant football coach put players in danger has evolved into a debate over who’s really in charge at Berkeley: The academics, or the football team? This is, admittedly, not a debate exclusive to Berkeley. What makes it uniquely Berkeley is that the academics seem to think they still have a chance at winning.
It started June 29, when the San Francisco Chronicle published an investigation into the inquiry that cleared strength coach Damon Harrington and the rest of the Cal staff of any wrongdoing in the death of Ted Agu and in the 2013 locker room assault that left freshman Fabiano Hale unconscious. Per the Chronicle, a former player hinted that Harrington incited the fight that left Hale unconscious and that Harrington routinely pushed players too hard in workouts, which was part of why the school had to pay out a $4.75 million settlement to Agu’s family in April. Harrington, however, was cleared by the university.