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Football: 2014 Big Game stays at Berkeley

By Jeff Faraudo
Thursday, August 29th, 2013 at 1:54 pm in Football, Scheduling.

Greeted in recent days by a firestorm of opposition from its fans, Cal announced the 2014 Big Game against Stanford will remain at Memorial Stadium and would not be moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour announced the decision in a letter to fans and supporters.

Barbour said all aspects of the proposal were considered, but that the athletic department reached out to alumni, students, donors and ticket holders to solicit feedback.

“We listened to — and are grateful for — what they told us,” she wrote.

Jeffrey Warren, who broke the story last Friday that the game might be move through his blog, “A Cal Fan’s View,” was pleased.

“I”m excited. I’m happy for the kids,” said Warren, suggesting most of them wouldn’t have made the trip from Berkeley to Santa Clara. “The students would be playing beer pong in the fraternities and watching the game on TV.”

*** Click here to read Sandy Barbour’s entire letter.

The proposal to have the 2014 Big Game moved on a one-year basis to the new home of the 49ers surfaced publicly late last week, and was met with angry reponse from fans from both schools. The 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority initiated the proposal.

In particular, Cal fans felt the Santa Clara location was not a “neutral” site, and were unhappy the game was being moved in a year when the rivals were scheduled to meet in Berkeley.

The move was expected to earn both schools additional revenue beyond what the Big Game normally generates.

For many fans, selling cherished traditions to help pay down athletic department debts was not a satisfactory tradeoff.

“Pretty soon the value of tradition is lost and gone,”  former Cal quarterback and coach Joe Kapp said Saturday. “The changes more and more recognize the money. There won’t be traditions anymore if money rules.”

Barbour, in her letter, said all sides of the issue were considered, including “the competitive balance of our home schedule, the student-athlete experience and the game-day environment for our fans, as well as short- and long-term financial implications.”

Ultimately, Barbour said, the university decided, “it is not in Cal’s best interest to move forward with the offer.”

Still, Barbour said the athletic department will continue to try to find creative ways to help pay down the $474 million debt incurred by the renovation of Memorial Stadium and construction of a student-athlete high-performance training center.

“Although we are passing on this particular opportunity, we remain open to looking at the right set of circumstances in the future — as long as they are consistent with the values and principles that informed this specific decision,” she said.

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.

 

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  • BlakeStreetBear

    Good.

  • wehofx

    Yes.

  • milo

    Good, it never made any sense.

  • Jacqueline Jensen

    What a shame! This was an innovative and creative idea that would have been fun and added a new aspect to the Big Game. Rather than diminish the rivalry it only would have enhanced it! And imagine how great it could have been to take recruits to one the NFL’s premier facilities. Too bad : (

  • ScottyBear

    Would have been like just giving away to Stanford the home field advantage

  • Rocko at the beach

    Sandy said: “While we continue to consider opportunities to strengthen our financial position, we will not sacrifice our core values to achieve our primary objectives.”

    Oh,really Sandy! You have already ruined the game day experience by blasting fans with commercials during timeouts instead of having the band play. You redid the West side of CMS but other than new aluminum seats left the East side alone. It’s pretty clear to me that since your arrival it’s been all about the $$$. If the story about moving the Big Game in 2014 to Santa Clara had not leaked out you would have shoved this down our throats. And you know it! You didn’t go to CAL, all your knowledge about CAL is what you have been told or read about.

    What’s coach Dykes going to say about moving the Big Game, he’s never experienced one either. It was clearly a benefit to Stanford to do this. Teams come and go as to their stature. Twenty years ago no one cared about Oregon. Washington has gone down hill. It’s worked for nearly 100 years. There are some things you can’t screw around with and this was one of them. The sad thing is you don’t understand that.