Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cal's gain over airwaves would be Folsom's loss

Troy Taylor might have to leave the sidelines to provide analysis.
By Quwan Spears -- Bee Staff Writer
When Troy Taylor worked as a television analyst for the Big Game between Cal and Stanford last season, little did he realize the cameo would lead into a full-time job with the Cal radio network this season.
The only problem is Taylor might have to resign as Folsom High School football coach after four seasons because of NCAA regulations.
"I'm very happy because this is an opportunity of a lifetime that I can't pass up," Taylor said after being introduced as Cal's new color man during the "Tedford Tour," a mixer in which local season-ticket holders and their guests met Bears coach Jeff Tedford at the Pyramid Alehouse in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday. "But at the same time, I'm sick over the fact that I might have to leave and put the kids I've coached, and the entire program, in a difficult spot. I would hate to leave with the season just around the corner."
Cal and Folsom have sought a one-year waiver from the NCAA to allow Taylor, 37, to coach this season. If a waiver is not granted, Taylor will step down and Kris Richardson, a varsity assistant since 2001, will take over.
Taylor, however, will remain at Folsom as a physical education and driver's education teacher. He signed a one-year contract with ISP sports, which recently signed a five-year contract extension to be the multimedia rights holder of Cal athletics. Taylor did not comment on the terms but said he will make more than the $3,100 stipend he receives for coaching. A ruling by the NCAA administration review subcommittee, which consists of athletic directors and athletic administrators, is expected to come as early as Friday.
ISP sports approached Taylor in early June about being a sideline reporter despite his limited broadcasting experience.
Two weeks later, ISP offered Taylor, Cal's starting quarterback from 1986 to 1989, the color job after Mike Pawlawski, who led Cal to bowl wins in 1990 and '91, stepped down after one season.
In July, Taylor talked with Cal and Folsom about how to work both jobs. Then Cal associate athletic director Foti Mellis learned Taylor would violate NCAA bylaw 13.11.3 if he simultaneously handled both duties. If Taylor represented both schools, Cal would gain a potential advantage if it recruited Folsom players, according to the rule.
Tedford said he wrote a letter to the NCAA subcommittee, saying Cal would not recruit Folsom players this season if Taylor remained.
Folsom athletic director Peter Maroon said he, Bulldogs assistant coaches, players, and parents also wrote letters saying Taylor's departure would put the program in a bind.
"Any time we have a student athlete or a coach have an opportunity to go to the next level, we support that situation, and Troy is no exception," Maroon said. "Troy was upfront with everybody about his situation and expressed his desire to remain on board for the season."
If the waiver is granted, Maroon said Taylor and Richardson would serve as co-head coaches.
Taylor possibly could miss Folsom games on Sept. 23 against Woodcreek and Oct. 8 at Florin. Cal has road trips to New Mexico State and UCLA on those dates.
"We're very fortunate to have a person like Troy Taylor with his coaching and former playing experience to go toward making it a great broadcast," said ISP vice president and general manager Solly Fulp. "He is well worth getting him the needed accommodations."
The waiver appears unlikely, however. Mellis said the subcommittee has rejected seven similar cases in the past 10 years.
"We're hoping for a favorable outcome," Mellis said. "But we know getting one would be unprecedented."
If Taylor resigns, Folsom would lose a coach who earned a lot of respect for his dedication over the past four seasons.
"It's really hard to describe Troy's value in words," Maroon said. "All I know is that he is one of the hardest-working coaches I've met. He was one that would put in time on Saturdays and during the offseason to build the program."
Taylor will make his radio debut Sept. 3 when Cal hosts Sacramento State. The game can be heard locally on KTKZ Radio (1380 AM).

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