As if Cal’s first-year head coach Sonny Dykes didn’t already have enough problems to deal with, last Friday freshman running back Fabiano Hale was injured and taken to a hospital after a locker-room fight with a teammate. Mix that fight up with the Golden Bears’ horrible record and graduation rate, and you have the perfect recipe for the most dysfunctional program in college football.
University police told the San Francisco Chronicle that Hale, 18, suffered unspecified injuries and was taken to the Alta Bates Medical Center on Friday after a “one-on-one” altercation with a teammate. Police wouldn’t identify the second player involved, what led to the fight or if charges might be filed but did reveal they know who the suspect is.
Dykes had no comment on Monday about the incident which is no surprise. There isn’t much to be said about anything Cal football related these days.
Hale isn’t the only one in need of medical attention, as the Golden Bears football program as a whole has some pretty serious ailments. Cal (1-8, 0-6) has lost 11 Pac 12 games in a row, 13-straight against FBS competition, and is on pace for the worst season since a 1-10 campaign in 2001. The lone win this season was a narrow 37-30 victory over FCS opponent Portland State, which has a losing record in the Big Sky Conference.
In addition to its problems on the field, Cal also posted the worst graduation rate (44 percent) among 72 major college football programs – those in the Pac 12, Big 12, B1G, SEC and ACC – according to statistics released by the NCAA on Oct. 24. The NCAA average for FBS football programs was 71, the highest GSR average ever.
Ironically, junior defensive tackle Gabe King abruptly left the Cal football team last month to focus on academics and complete his degree in May 2014. As he remains under a football scholarship, you can’t help but wonder whether his graduation will still count toward the program’s numbers during the next review.
It should be noted that the graduation rate study reflected players who came to Cal between 2003 and 2006 when Jeff Tedford was head coach. Dykes can’t be blamed for this bad news, but “It’s Not Always Sonny in Berkeley” these days. This is another poor reflection of the state of the football program.
At this point, the only thing missing from the Golden Bears’ sordid resume is an NCAA investigation and/or major rules infractions. Based on the Bad News Bears’ current trend, we anxiously await that report to break any time now.