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Sport cuts: Baseball, men’s gym eliminated

The university announced Friday morning that men’s rugby, and women’s gymnastics and lacrosse have been saved, but baseball and men’s gymnastics will be cut.

Here’s the university news release and a statement from Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

Jeff Faraudo

  • NorCal Scott

    This is a sad day for Cal Athletics. *SMH*

  • heckyeah

    Title IX is sexism.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I am still shocked about baseball. I do wonder how much Title IX went into this latest decision.

  • rollonubears

    Jeff Kent and Xavier Nady could have spearheaded a campaign to save baseball. Apparently, nobody cares. It’ll be back within 5 years, when the university has a better financial footing.

  • Dan

    Birgeneau and Barbour kicked this one all over the place- nice, clueless legacy. The cluelessness becomes more apparent as days pass.

    Also, wasn’t a major part of the money pledged coming from the baseball program’s donors??

  • heckyeah

    @Dan, yes this is the saddest part, that there were donors who pledged to donate to the baseball program. But to my understanding, the University is not earmarking donations..

  • aubear

    Sorry folks – baseball donors did not step up to the plate. A total of $12-13 million was raised in the “Save Cal Sports” campaign, nearly $6 million of it coming from rugby supporters. Baseball contributed $1.5 to $2 million, and it is the most costly Cal sport, relying on the university’s general fund for about $1 million annually.

  • heckyeah

    @Aubear, can you clarify how these donations work? Does this mean that the University is not accepting the pledged baseball donations?

  • aubear

    My understanding is the donations, while going to the generic “Save Cal Sports,” were allocated based on the wishes of the donor to which of the sports it was intended. That is how (I believe) the numbers I quoted were arrived at.

    I can tell you (having been in attendance) that at the Save Cal Rugby event following the Stanfurd match January 26, Coach Jack Clark asked that the pledges for rugby be sent to him and that he would verify them to IA.

  • aubear

    In the case of rugby donations, each was made contingent on the sport’s reinstatement. If pledges were made for men’s gymnastics and baseball, they were likely contingent on those being saved as well.

  • milo

    It is a sad day for Cal. I agree the baseball alum could have done more, much more and I believe that was part of the calculus. It was a very obvious source of funds.

    I also believe it will be revived in the future because I just don’t see them dumping Evans for an ultimate frisbee field.

  • milo

    Side note: it’s interesting to see what program alum donated, perhaps a reflection of their experiences on that team at Cal. Seems rugby players got a lot out the sport but they also have the Witter family (Dean Witter) amongst them. Maybe the major leaguers had their money tied up by their agents/managers. Poor reflection whatever the deal.

  • ScottyBear

    It will be a sad day when Evans Diamond is paved over to make a parking lot for the UC Regents…or to install all those empty bleachers for women’s lacrosse.

  • ConcordBear

    It is a sad state of affairs when Cal cuts baseball. It’s also sad Cal baseball alums did not step up and donate more to save the program.
    I think both sides look very weak, no one looks good and it’s a mess.
    What a terrible job handling this by UC and terrible job by Cal baseball people now and over the years.
    Where’s the pride?

  • Juancho

    Sad. Agree with Rollon. No famous sports Cal alumni stepped up to help. Hoped to see Kent, or Tony Gonzalez, or anyone raise awareness. Rodgers didn’t even mention Cal super bowl week.

  • Calfan

    This is a terrible legacy by this administration. They overspent like drunken sailors for years and when called upon it, they reacted by cutting sports, not taking into account Title IV and not giving the sports a chance. Meanwhile, the kids were in limbo. They are now saving women’s sports that few likely contributed to specifically (lacrosse and w gym), thanks in part to money contributed to save baseball – to cover up their Title VI blunder. Sad. The AD and President should be fired over this.

  • Bob49

    Sandy Barbour seems to have made herself look silly in this whole affair. First, she cuts back women athletics too much so that, after the cuts, Cal won’t pass or will have a difficult time satisfying Title IX. Then, as I understand it, she tells the people trying to preserve the sports that were cut that either all five sports cut will be saved, or none will be saved, making the donor contributions essentially have to go to save all five sports. Then, apparently, she goes back on what she initially said and indicates that not enough money was raised that was designated specifically for baseball, so that sport has to go. I think some sort of investigation should be done regarding Sandy Barbour’s handling of this whole mess, and it should start through the press.

  • Bears

    Sandy Barbour is just a pawn in this game. The Chancelor is the one who makes the final call. What qualifies an academic from Cananda to be in charge of the formerly finest public university in the land? I have heard him speak live, and he is not a leader. I’m sure he’s a very smart guy in his specific field but what other skills does the man actually have? Not much for business or leadership, get the guy out before he trips over his own feet again!
    Youdof the University Pres and Govenor Brown should kick this clown back north of the border. He just does not get “it”.
    And Jack Clark talks a ton about leadership and pride. Is his leadership and pride only in his Rugby program or is it in the entire University? Based on him signing off on this deal it tells me he does not have the stones and leadership I thought he did. He should have stood firm and said bring back all five or nothing at all like was publically stated by Cal many times in this process. What does Clark have to say now that two teams, mens gym and baseball are gone? Now he’s happy as a clam and back on board because HE got what HE wanted. All about Clark or the lunatic fringe 5% faculty. How about the great good of the University as a whole and the students and opportunities for future students no longer there?
    It’s all so political and stupid. Major major blunder.

  • milo

    This whole thing is a no-win situation. No one wins and no one looks good. The only way for a win would be all programs restored…but that didn’t happen.

    Could it have been handled better, sure…but there’s no play book or instruction manual for this sort of stuff and who knows the real details, politically and financially.

    I also think it was more then just Birgeneau or Barbour but the reality of the cuts needed, open academic animosity towards athletics (athletes isn’t universally loved at Cal). Regarding saving baseball, I think it was a reasonable assumption that former Cal baseball players would step up more. Rugby did.

    Total and complete guess but I’m thinking if Rugby comes up with $6m and baseball comes up with $1.2m (or whatever), then Rugby has the “right” to tell baseball they’re chumping on the deal and demand an adjustment for them to pull their weight. I mean why should rugby carry baseball? Rugby has no schollies and has a low number of coaches and staff. Baseball has schollies, more coaches and high maintenance (field) and serves fewer students-athletes.

    Regarding Birgeneau specifically, honestly he has bigger fish to fry. He’s n charge of the world’s no 1 public university and it is in the middle of a horrendous economic crap storm…losing 2 men’s sports program is minor. His job right now is to keep the whole ship from going down, not save baseball and gymnastics. His legacy will probably be based on how the university fares the storm.

  • milo

    p.s. If Jack Clark deserves any flack it’s for his unwillingness to help establish a women’s rugby program. That would have solved much of the Title IX issues that helped created the situation and the initial axing.

    Right before the big axing was announced, Clark supposedly agreed to establish a women’s team…but it was too late. Clark runs a truly exceptional program and the alumni donation proves that…but the no women’s team is caveman territory.

  • http://cctimessports rkn

    Only Stanford and Oregon from PAC 10 offer Lacrosse.
    Here are costly road trips this season…AT= Longwood -VA,Davidson-NC,Northwestern= Ill,Ohio St,Drexel,LaSalle and Villanova.

    After cuts…next season CAL will have FIVE more women sports than men.They are:

    1).Volleyball

    2).Lacrosse

    3).Field Hockey

    4).Gymnastics

    5).Baseball (girls softball)

    I would like to read the BUDGETS of all athletic programs (including football) and see who has been constantly overbudget the last 5 years.

    Baseball shouldn’t have been cut…..TRACK and SOCCER were obvious choices.The Cal AD job is too much for “glad hand” Sandy.

  • Calfan

    Either way, we alumni and donors (as well as the press) should take a closer look at how things were so obviously mismanaged – given that the University had the time and knowledge to prepare for the budget cuts, and to come up with a sensible solution to their overspending (if sports had to be cut, so be it, but do it once and for all (see men’s volleyball)), but instead of devising a plan and sticking to it, they went about from blunder to blunder – showing a surprising lack of leadership and lack of communication with their own coaches, alumni and the press. Hopefully, though, the kids they screwed over get to play elsewhere.

  • Bob49

    Sandy Barbour has done some good things for Cal, principally organizing the new stadium and sports facility project and getting Monty as a coach, but her performance on this issue is just abominable.

    As I understand it, her department is way overstaffed, so the first cost cuts, to set an example, should have come from her department. But I guess she needs a really large department to make her feel important. I saw her speak at Cal Camp a few summers ago, and though she presents herself well, it is clear she has a huge ego. In her speech at camp, she was bragging about how Cal offers more varsity sports than most schools do and that she would try as much as she could to keep it that way.

    This whole episode shows that that ego is not backed up by administrative and technical expertise (cutting back woman’s sports so much that a violation of Title IX could easily occur) or being a straight talker and someone whose word you can rely on (telling donors they need to raise funds to save all five sports and then cutting some of them because the donations associated with certain sports teams were not large enough).

    In my opinion, she should be run through the coals on this, so this type of thing never happens again. And maybe the result of that process is that other solutions to the problem, which appears not to be set in stone that changes cannot still occur, can be discussed, including the good idea, mentioned above, to cut back some on all sports (and there must be some fat in all of them) so we can bring back baseball and women’s gymnastics. It is also logical, now that we finally find out that the real rules of the game to keep a sport (after being told something different) is that sufficient funds need to be raised to support that specific sport, that additional time be given to baseball and women’s gymnastics to raise designated donations to save those sports.

  • rotfogel

    Thank God women’s lacrosse was saved. I can’t tell you guys how many countless battles I’ve seen in Cal women’s freaking lacrosse. Oh wait, I can tell you, I’ve yet to see one and I find myself asking why is an east coast game even played out here and why is this meaningless sport (certainly out here) being spared? That makes exactly zero sense.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I don’t know how Barbour can be blamed for this at all. It’s like blaming Jerry Brown for the cuts he has to make to the state, and with the overwhelming likelihood that voters will foolishly not support a tax increase, the UC system is about to become even more strapped.

    There is really know way to impart blame without going political, but I find the irony far too delicious. The deregulation that was meant to “trickle down” wealth upon us all has been proven not to work. Yet, when the excrement hit the air conditioning and the profits vanished at the top, the system sure let the losses trickle down.

    Cal athletics is facing the reality of the situation. Frankly, however much I love Cal sports, I am more disappointed at how much our “alums” have stepped up to “save Cal sports” while the actual university continues to suffer so. Don’t lose sight of how much the school has lost academically this decade before you rant over these loses. None of this is any good, but Cal sports is losing half a hand while the school has lost a limb.

  • Bob49

    Wisdom Cow,

    I’m not blaming Sandy Barbour for having to make the cuts, but how she made them (and if she wasn’t totally in charge of that issue, which I think she probably was, she must have been one of the primary decision makers in deciding how cuts should be made). She should have been totally responsible for the issue of whether the initial cuts to women’s sports would result in Cal being in violation of Title IX — she is responsible for seeking advice on whether the cuts that were contemplated then would meet those rules.

    I’d like to see Cal admit that they made a mistake in handling this issue, start over with respect to baseball and women’s gymnastics (telling them, IN WRITING, how much donations they need to raise and when), and perhaps make some good-faith cuts in athletic department personnel. I don’t see how Cal can deny a sport to be allowed to continue if it is largely self-funded with designated donations, unless adding a men’s sport (i.e. baseball) but not a women’s sport (i.e. women’s gymnastics) raises Title IX issues (and then cuts need to be made across all sports to make sure those rules are complied with).

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I was under the impression the committee was making these decisions. I read their report (it feels like ages ago) and found it to be extremely well reasoned, wading through a ton of difficult to quantify variables while needing to apply to some hard rules like Title IX.

    When the donors came up with so much cash (though less than half what the committee said was needed to save the sports), I knew there would be trouble and wrote as much. These cuts were not a simple matter of what is on the Cal athletics’ ledgers as they still get a big chunk of UC monies.

    Bob49, I get what you mean, but remember how long it took the committee to put that report together, even then many variables within were not exactly transparent. To have wanted clarity from Sandy on the decisions of the past week would have taken a similar report, when I am certain her time was spent making the tough decision.

    I am confused by much of the donation earmarking I am reading about, though. I thought it was foolish of the 5 sports to all throw in with each other as I know I read they had. Yet, now I read of donation earmarks. Funnier, to think each sport didn’t know how much they would need to raise if they stayed separate is pretty funny. Each sport knows it’s own costs and what can be cut as if to be independent.

    I do think that the Title IX considerations are precisely why they banded together. It may be the best solution for baseball would be to solicit an exemption from Title IX from the federal government while trying to whether the economic downturn, seeing that the sport must also provide for a women’s sport of similar costs in order to remain in compliance. Tell me what Congressman or Senator would vote to deny a baseball team a few years of compliance, if properly spun to make it look like a vote for baseball.

  • Bob49

    Wisdom Cow,

    I agree that the donation earmarking I read about is confusing. But I believe a statement in a recent article in the Contra Costa Times is correct that said that only after the decision not to allow baseball back in were the backers of it told that they needed to have raised $8 in DESIGNATED FUNDS to save that sport. Telling people trying to save a sport that, AFTER THE FACT, that they needed to have raised a specific designated amount is totally unfair and reflects the amateurish way this whole issue was handled. I primarily blame Sandy Barbour for that.

    Sandy Barbour and the Cal administration should clear the air, admit they made mistakes, and give the two excluded sports one more chance, with clear and written rules as to what must be done to save their sports. That would go a long way to restoring faith to the Cal faithful in their abilities to handle important issues in a fair and logical manner.

  • Calfan

    I agree with Bob on this one. Now if you think about baseball, how long do you think Evans diamond will be allowed to seat empty in a campus starved for land? Softball can be played elsewhere. If baseball isn’t brought back soon, it will be gone forever – it’s stadium turned into a new building, or worse, a parking lot.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    After reading some more of the latest, like the sfgate telling of baseball’s rants, I am certain of only one thing, that information was confused. Whether or not it was Barbour’s fault, I don’t know.

    Early on, I was certain from what I read through multiple sources that the “all or nothing” position was decided upon by the teams collectively, whereas now it appears some from the baseball camp were under the impression it was the only option. While it may be easy to put Barbour at fault for this, why did none of the teams speak up sooner when the published reports were clearly different from their impression as now stated?

    I, too, am of the opinion some of this entire thing may be “spin” to a certain degree. Baseball resonates more, even with those who do not follow it. Perhaps some of this is all an attempt to get more out of donors through the emotion of cutting one of the classic 3 sports. For most, the 3 seasons of school sports (Fall, Winter, and Spring) were thought of as football season, basketball season, and baseball season.

    So, if this is an attempt to pull heart strings, AND IT WORKS in saving baseball eventually, I guess the dishonesty and sudden abandonment from transparency (which was a point of pride within the original committee report) will be worth it.

  • milo

    Regarding Evans…it’s in the middle a bunch of athletic facilities, I don’t see a building or a parking lot going in any time soon. It takes years for the planning and fund raising to happen. If baseball can’t get settled within 2 years, it might be gone but I think they get it together…unless all those former Cal major leaguers became Libertarians.

    The easiest change for Evans would be recreational for intermural sports or training, which can be changed back. Softball won’t go there because it’s played in Strawberry Canyon and will be linked to the new SAHPC.

  • Bob49

    As it is sometimes said, “there’s somethings rotten in Denmark.” An all or nothing decision was agreed to by the Cal administration.” Then, when not enough money comes in to satisfy them that they can fund all five sports, they decide to change the rules, allowing three in and look to see which sports the funding came from to kick two out. Allowing three in better than none, but a better answer is to allow all five in or, AT LEAST ALLOW MORE TIME NOW (AND THAT WORD SHOULD BE UNDERLINED AND IN BOLD) TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE TWO SPORTS THAT WON’T BE ALLOWED BACK IN SINCE THE RULES WERE CHANGED AFTER THE FACT.

    I haven’t followed any of the history on this, as Wisdom Cow seems to have done to some extent, but since Sandy Barbour seems to be the spokesmen to announce what will be done with each sport (and the latest I read is that she will allow baseball to raise money later to allow them to continue to be a sport at Cal, but only after the sport is terminated for some time), I hold her more responsible than others for all of this lunacy, which is an embarrassment to the university.

    The bottom line is if money needs to be raised by each sport for it to survive, then 1) set those rules clearly and, preferably, in writing 2) impose a reasonable deadline to obtain those donations, and 3) do what you say you are going to do and follow the rules that are established and don’t change them after the fact.

  • milo

    Hey Bob, did you graduate in ’49? Just wondering because that’s when my Dad did.

    Any way, baseball will be back. I have no doubt.

  • Bob49

    This is, hopefully, my final comment on this subject.

    Wisdom Cow, whether the baseball team agreed to the all or nothing deal in terms of the five sports teams being reinstated is irrelevant. And, it is also true that, under the terms of what I believe the all or nothing deal the Cal administration set up, IT DID NOT MATTER WHETHER ANYONE DONATED ANYTHING ON BEHALF OF THE BASEBALL TEAM; ONLY THE TOTAL AMOUNT DONATED ON BEHALF OF ANY OR ALL TEAMS MATTERED.

    So the baseball team could have zero donors and if the total amount donated met whatever dollar amount requirement was established (if there was a firm dollar requirement) to keep the five teams (a requirement which, if established, has to my knowledge never been released). Under these rules, if rugby team donors were the only donors, but pledged enough dollars, all of the teams would be reinstated, including baseball, under the all or nothing rule the administration either imposed by itself or had each team agree to. Again, agreement by the baseball team to the all or nothing deal is irrelevant, since only total dollars pledged from whatever source (with none having to come from baseball supporters) being the only requirement that had to be met.

    Assuming I am right about this, and from I’ve read I am, then the baseball team has a LEGITIMATE AND BIG GRIPE about the change in the rules the administration imposed. This is because, again, the baseball team did not not need to obtain any donors on its behalf to get reinstated; only the total donations on behalf of all teams, or even a single team, needed to met to satisfy the administration’s rule.

    THE BASEBALL TEAM HAS A LEGITIMATE CLAIM THAT THEY RELIED UPON THE ALL OR NOTHING RULE, WHETHER THEY AGREED TO IT OR NOT, AND TO THEIR DETRIMENT. They would have made it more likely to meet the administration goal under the all or nothing rule by getting baseball donors to come to bat for them in making donations. BUT UNDER THE ALL OR NOTHING RULE, WHERE TOTAL DONATIONS ARE AGGREGATED, THEY DID NOT NEED TO DO SO THEY COULD RIDE THE COATTAILS OF DONATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE OTHER FOUR TEAMS.

    HOWEVER, UNDER THE AFTER THE FACT RULES SET UP BY THE ADMINISTRATION, WHICH LOOKS TO THE SOURCE AND THE AMOUNT OF EACH TEAM’S DONATION (OR PERHAPS JUST THE DONATIONS SPECIFICALLY ON BEHALF OF BASEBALL AND WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS), IT WAS CRITICAL FOR BASEBALL LOYALISTS TO PONY UP ON BEHALF OF THEIR SPORT AND NOT JUST RIDE ALONG THE COATTAILS OF OTHER SPORT DONATIONS.

    I READ THIS AFTER THE FACT DOLLAR AMOUNT WAS $8 MILLION, WHICH WAS MEASURED ONLY BY BASEBALL DONATIONS, NOT TOTAL DONATIONS ON BEHALF OF ALL TEAMS. BUT THE RULES HAD EFFECTIVELY BEEN CHANGED BY THE ADMINISTRATION BEFORE ANY BASEBALL DONORS HAD A CHANCE TO THINK ABOUT THE NEED TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS TO MEET THE $8 MILLION DOLLAR GOAL FOR BASEBALL, SINCE THEY HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THAT REQUIREMENT OF GOAL.

    THE BASIC POINT IS THAT HAD BASEBALL KNOWN THEY NEEDED TO MEET A $8 MILLION PLEDGE REQUIREMENT, RATHER THAN MEET A DOLLAR GOAL FROM THE AGGREGATE OF FIVE SPORT DONATIONS, THEY WOULD LIKELY HAVE HANDLED THEIR DONATION CAMPAIGN MUCH DIFFERENTLY AND DONORS WOULD ALSO HAVE RESPONDED DIFFERENTLY.

    I have read that Sandy Barbour will allow donations to be made in the future, at some unspecified point in time, so that baseball can be brought back. But it seems totally illogical to disband baseball after next season, collect pledges a year or so from now specifically for baseball, and then restart the program. Under that procedure, when baseball is ready to be played again, players will have already transferred, the coach will likely have found a new job, etc. It makes MUCH MORE SENSE to collect pledges NOW, not much later, so that baseball can continue uninterrupted and free from the disruptions of shutting it down, making players leave and then getting new players. I don’t see how anyone can disagree with the logic of what I am saying — which is to start collecting pledges NOW for baseball, set a reasonable deadline to collect pledges, and whatever dollar amount the administration reasonably needs to make the baseball program self-funded over a period of years. Following this procedure will possibly avoid the agony of baseball dying, lives being needlessly disrupted, and trying to start a baseball over again from scratch.