Bear with us for one moment while we unfurl a metaphor. Let's say you wanted to write a script for a Hollywood action movie. You know what a great plot would be? It's this: A high-profile mercenary who failed massively in public is seeking redemption. One last score, if only to get her reputation back. So she signs on with an organization that's so disgraced that it has to take a chance on her. Because she's the person they can find.
Now we're not saying that you'd have to title this hypothetical movie The Sandy Barbour Story, but we are saying we wouldn't be surprised if you did.
That's all we could think about when we heard the news that UC Berkeley's former Athletic Director Sandy Barbour had taken a new job as the AD of Penn State.
Barbour, you may recall, is the former head of Cal's athletics programs, who saw the football team to a 1-11 record last year, amass a $445 million debt on its new stadium and athletic center and—most importantly—had the lowest graduation rate of 72 major teams conference teams. And that's just the football team. In 2010, she tried to axe Cal's baseball team and demote its massively-successful rugby squad.
Penn State, as you may recall, is Penn State.
Maybe we are being unfair? After all, Barbour did notch 19 national titles over a decade. And Penn State, like UC Berkeley, is a large public institution that has to balance its education with a popular sports program. But still.
In any case, Penn State president Eric Barron said in a statement, "Sandy is an excellent fit for Penn State." Which yup, sounds just about right.