SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The University of California has admitted its negligence was a substantial factor in the death of former California football player Ted Agu.

The 21-year-old defensive lineman died nearly two years ago after a strenuous team workout.

His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, arguing that Agu had sickle cell trait and should not have been put through an exercise where players sprinted up and down a hill while holding a rope together.

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Experts say sickle cell, an inherited condition, can affect some athletes during periods of intense exercise.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://sfchron.cl/1m6f1yX ) the university acknowledged liability in court papers signed Monday.

UC Berkeley officials said in a statement that by declining to contest liability, they could focus the legal proceedings on appropriate compensation for Agu's family.