Pac-12 links: Cal stadium debt a ‘noose around the campus’ neck’

» Cal’s newly renovated Memorial Stadium has a marvelous press box view of the San Francisco Bay, but the price may be looming, insurmountable debt. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the school would still be short $132 million even if it sold all 2,902 seats. Stagnated at 1,857, Berkeley is now spending $300,000 a year to “professionalize” sales efforts.

The campus had originally planned to raise $270 million of the $321 million cost through ticket sales.

The whole project seemed ill-conceived from the beginning, what with the reliance on non-binding pledges. An absolute face palm of a quote from John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance: “They learned a commitment is not a commitment until you have a binding document. Now we feel we’re better off.”

In other news, the Bears landed 2014 quarterback Luke Rubenzer, a Scottsdale, Ariz., product rated three stars by He has generated at least one premature comparison to Russell Wilson, which is fine but does little to avert crippling debt.

» Tucson’s city prosecutor dropped domestic violence charges against Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey, who had been allegedly involved in a December incident with his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend. Carey was an All-American for the Wildcats last season, a card he won’t hesitate to use in the face of trouble.

» Former Washington State athlete and New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason wrote marvelously about his battle with ALS in a guest spot on Peter King’s MMQB.

» USC hired Caryl Smith Gilbert as its new director of track and field. Smith Gilbert was a three-time All-American at UCLA, so the move echoes the hiring of water polo coach Jovan Vavic in that way. As an opposing example, Rick Neuheisel got a J.D. from USC Law. (Cue: Alternatively:

» The Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon throughly breaks down the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit. O’Bannon himself credits Sonny Vaccaro as an instrumental part of the case: “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him. He’s 100 percent engulfed in it. This is his baby. That’s why I think this case will succeed.”

» Offensive tackle Nic Purcell lost his college eligibility for playing two unpaid club games in New Zealand. Oregon appealed to the NCAA to the NCAA and failed, but now Chip Kelly’s giving him a shot at the Philadelphia Eagles’ OTAs.

» Oregon State opened a new basketball practice facility, but the Beavers will probably be awful as long as Craig Robinson remains head coach.

» Stanford biomechanical engineering student Muthu Alagappan is using data to identify over a dozen position descriptions in basketball. He has formal partnerships with both the Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers. (GQ also wrote extensively about him last June.)

» Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s career path would likely be very different had former WSU coach Mike Rice not switched his then-graduate assistant from defense to offense.

» KIRO7 Seattle provides a helicopter view of the almost-completed Husky Stadium renovation.

» Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre has not yet made a decision regarding 2013 signee Sam Kronshage. The three-star offensive lineman sent a racial slur to a rival high school baseball player earlier this month when they and other teammates got into a Twitter feud. He now says someone else tweeted from his account.

» Miss Utah Marissa Powell isn’t a Ute, but her cringe-inducing flub is still worth a mention.