Cal Sports Return!!

Caroline Cook

Newest Development in Ongoing Cal Sports Debacle: Three of
Five Eliminated Teams Saved

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced today that Men’s Rugby, Women’s Gymnastics and Women’s Lacrosse will be preserved as varsity sports at UC Berkeley.

Donors will support the teams’ expenses while long-term plans are being implemented enabling programs to survive on their own in the future. According to Birgeneau, the $12-$13 million raised by donors not only allows these sports to continue at the varsity level, but complies with the campus’ goal to reduce annual support to Intercollegiate Athletics to $5 million or less by 2014.

However, a comprehensive, sport-by-sport review of the philanthropic commitments determined that the pledges for baseball and Men’s Gymnastics fell short of sufficient funding needed to cover team expenses for the next seven to 10 years, in addition to a plan for sustained financial independence.

“Sadly, the efforts did not meet these criteria insofar as baseball and men’s gymnastics are concerned,” said Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary. “Although the amount of money raised for these two programs is meaningful, the teams’ costs are also significant.  Both programs would have needed to raise multiples of what they actually did raise to meet our criteria.  In the context of both current and forecasted economic and financial conditions, we simply could not agree to short-term, stopgap measures.”

Excess funds raised to support rugby or the two women’s sports would have, if possible, covered the projected funding shortfall of men’s gymnastics and baseball for approximately two years.

Originally, initial criteria provided to donors last fall asked for up to $100 million to fund all five teams. Due to abundant enthusiasm from community and team supporters, the funding criteria changed in November to require $25 million in interim funding to cover all five teams’ expenses while working to create plans for long-term sustainable funding.