Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour has reponded to BANG staff writer Jon Wilner’s stories last week that detailed the athletic department’s financing of Memorial Stadium renovations and retrofit and the construction of the high-performance training center.
Click here for Wilner’s College Hotline post on the topic with links to his original story, or continue reading for Barbour’s letter to our newspapers:
Overall, Jon Wilner’s series on Cal athletics facilities financing (Page 1C, June 25) offered balanced coverage of a complex topic. I appreciate that the reporting made clear we had no choice when it came to retrofitting Memorial Stadium after members of the UC regents directed the campus to either retrofit or move out. It is also worth noting that we examined the possibility of playing elsewhere, but other venues presented disqualifying financial challenges. Simply retrofitting the stadium, without other improvements, certainly would have lowered the price tag.
However, a retrofit-only project could not have been funded through philanthropy, and using state money or student fees was not an option. So, we went beyond a retrofit and improved the facility with new amenities and premium seating that offer value to donors, fans and sponsors and support seat sales through the Endowment Seating Program. Although that program has yet to live up to our expectations, that does not mean it has failed. Seat sales have already generated sufficient funds to cover interest expenses for approximately 20 years, providing us with ample time to assess and, if needed, adjust a much-improved financial model.
Director of athletics UC Berkeley