Reinstatement of Cal Sports A Possibility

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Contra Costa Times/MCT

Caroline Cook

Last September, University of California Berkeley eliminated five of its intercollegiate sports programs in an attempt to save an estimated $4 million a year. Attributing the cuts to a worsening budget situation, University Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced that baseball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s gymnastics would be dropped, and men’s rugby would convert to “varsity club” status at the end of the 2011 academic year.

Birgeneau has directed Cal Baseball Foundation, in addition to Men’s Rugby, Women’s Lacrosse, and Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics to develop a sustainable financial plan to support the reinstatement of all five programs and to return the Cal Athletic Program to a strong financial footing, in full compliance with Title IX.

Save Cal Sports, an support organization attempting to rescue the eliminated sports, planned to submit figures to the chancellor this week on how much they have raised toward reinstatement. Birgeneau set the fundraising target at $25 million to potentially reinstate all five athletic programs.

Former Cal baseball player and spokesman for the group, Doug Nickle announced on the Save Cal Sports webpage that the organization has collected $15 million in pledges toward the required $25 million. With the San Francisco Giants, Cal alum, and an army of community members on their side, Save Cal Sports aims to keep all five cut sports alive.

No decision is likely until next week on the reinstatement, but the organization urges community members to continue writing to the chancellor, in addition to pledges and donations.