California athletic director Sandy Barbour fired back at Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who used the death of Cal football player Ted Agu in his argument in favor of a proposal to slow down offenses in college football.
After attending memorial services for Agu in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., Barbour took to Twitter to voice her displeasure with Bielema's comments.
Bret Bielema's comments about our Ted Agu are misinformed, ill-advised and beyond insensitive- Sandy Barbour (@gobearsAD) February 21, 2014
Using the tragic loss of one of our student athletes as a platform to further a personal agenda in a public setting is beyond inappropriate- Sandy Barbour (@gobearsAD) February 21, 2014
Agu, 21, died on Feb. 7, after he collapsed following a training run with teammates. No cause of death has been released.
Shortly after Barbour's comments were made, Bielema responded with a statement both on Twitter and through the university.
"It was brought to my attention that remarks I made yesterday evening while discussing a proposed rule change were unintentionally hurtful. I am very passionate, as we all are, about the serious nature of protecting the well-being of student-athletes," Bielema said in the statement.
"... In my press conference last night, I referenced information about the tragic loss of a life of a student-athlete. My comments were intended to bring awareness to player safety and instead they have caused unintended hurt. As a head coach who works with young individuals every day, the passing of Ted Agu is a reminder to us all how short and precious life is. I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family."
Bielema brought up Agu while voicing his support for the proposal to require offenses to wait until 10 seconds runs off the 40-second clock before snapping the ball. He says not allowing defenses time to substitute can put players in danger, especially those with the genetic condition sickle cell trait.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.