Field hockey: With no place to practice or play, frustrated Cal players arm themselves with legal team

My story on the Cal women’s field hockey team — without a place to practice or play games on campus this year — ran in all our editions and on our website today. Three members of the team have hired a law firm to register their complaints to the university administration, with a Title IX lawsuit one of the options.

Click here to read the story.


Athletics: Former Giants star and Cal alum Jeff Kent establishes endowed scholarship for women

Cal alum and former San Francisco Giants star Jeff Kent has established the Jeff Kent Women Driven Scholarship Endowment for his alma mater, the university announced Monday.

Kent’s donation of $531,000, plus $100,000 in matching funds, creates a fully endowed scholarship for one female student-athlete each year from soccer, softball, tennis track and field or cross country.

Kent will be recognized for his contribution during Cal’s home football game against Colorado on Saturday.

Originally a non-scholarship walkon at Cal, Kent has earmarked the endowed scholarship to preferably go to a non-recruited student-athlete with a minimum 2.8 grade-point average, an interest in community service or mentoring, and a financial need.

“Having the opportunity to get an education at Cal can make a profound difference in life. I know how much I benefited,” Kent said. “Everybody should have a shot, and this is my chance to ensure others have their shot.”

The scholarship has grown out of the Women Driven fund created by Kent and his wife, Dana, in partnership with the Giants in 1998. That program, which raised money for every RBI Kent delivered, raised more than $115,000 toward scholarships for female walkon athletes at Cal in its first year, eventually totaling more than $600,000.

“It’s not every day you get a phone call from a former Golden Bear and professional athlete who says he wants to endow an athletic scholarship, let alone for a male athlete to be such an outspoken champion of women’s athletics,” Cal interim athletic director Michael Williams said.

“Jeff’s dedication is truly remarkable,” added Phil Esten, Cal’s deputy director of athletics and external relations.


Rowing: 3 Cal women capture international gold

Three Cal women helped the U.S. eight boat to a gold medal at the Women’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships at Varese, Italy.

Agatha Nowinski (stroke), Kendall Chase (seven-seat) and Lindsay Meltz (coxswain) and the U.S. boat beat Great Britain by nearly four seconds in the final.

Chase won her second gold medal of the competition after contributing to a U.S. win in the women’s four on Saturday.

Australia, with Cal’s Jacinta Edmunds in the seven-seat, finished fourth in the women’s eight competition. In the women’s double sculls, Cal’s Inger Kavlie, in the bow-seat, helped Norway capture silver.

On the men’s side, Golden Bears Louis Snelson (five-seat) and Aaron Wright (six-seat) helped Australia to a silver medal in the eight competition, and Cal’s Spencer Hall (five-seat) contributed to a bronze-medal finish by the U.S.


H. Michael Williams is Cal’s interim athletic director

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is Jeff Faraudo’s breaking news story on Cal’s athletic director situation:

By Jeff Faraudo

H. Michael Williams, a former Cal wrestler with extensive financial and leadership experience, has been named the school’s interim athletic director while the university conducts a search to replace Sandy Barbour, a campus source said.

A 1982 graduate of Cal, Williams is a trustee with the U.C. Berkeley Foundation and serves on several university panels, including the recently formed Chancellor’s Task Force on Academics and Athletics. He is a former vice chairman, capital markets for Barclays Global Investors.

Williams’ appointment will be formally announced at a Friday news conference at Memorial Stadium. The source said Williams will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks will oversee the search to replace Barbour, who has served as athletic director since 2004 but will move a position on the academic side in a sports management program. Barbour’s last day as AD is July 15.


Hall of Fame: Natalie Coughlin leads 2014 class

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin, winner of 11 NCAA titles and 12 Olympic medals, heads the seven-member 2014 class of inductees into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Also part of Cal’s 29th Hall of Fame class are gymnast Tom Beach, swimmer Anthony Ervin, golfer Sarah Huarte, track and field athlete Grace Upshaw, football coach Ray Willsey and contributor Rick Cronk, who earned the Hall of Fame Service Award.

Induction ceremonies will be held Oct. 17 at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. Ticket information for the event can be found at www.bigcsociety.com.

Here’s a capsule on each inductee:

Continue Reading


Four Cal teams earn mention for academics

Four Cal sports team — men’s and women’s tennis, women’s gymnastics and women’s volleyball — earned Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for their academic performance.

All four have logged perfect 1,000 scores in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR), which will be released next Wednesday. The scores are calculated for a four-year average.

Men’s tennis received the award for the fourth consecutive year, the women for a third straight year. Volleyballl (three times) and gymnastics (twice) also have earned multiple mentions.

Multi-year APRs for all Division I sports will be released next week.



Academics: Latest graduation rate scores and estimated APR for football encouraging

Cal football has gotten some encouraging news from the NCAA on two academic fronts: 

  • The Graduation Success Rate: The Bears earlier this fall recorded an embarrassing GSR score of 44 percent for players who entered school in 2006. Now, the NCAA reports that the GSR for football players admitted to Berkeley in 2007 has risen to an estimated 65 percent, an increase of almost 50 percent.
  • The Academic Progress Rate: The APR, which measures real-time academic performance and student-athlete retention, also shows substantial improvement after scoring a substandard score of 923 last spring. The the latest estimate for this year’s rate, according t0 the NCAA, is 969. If sustained, that rate would result in a graduation rate of about 85 percent. The NCAA will release final, audited numbers in the spring.

Here’s the complete news release from the UC Berkeley public affairs office.

Here is a link to the plans unveiled Thursday by athletic director Sandy Barbour to form a task force that will include faculty, staff, students and alumni to identify and examine the key factors that play a role in the academic achievement of Cal’s student-athletes.




Ex-Cal rower adds to `You can play’ movement

Former Cal rower Heather Hargreaves has contributed to the “You Can Play” movement by helping to create a video that demonstrates the campus’ support for athletes of any sexual orientation.

Click here to see the video.

Hargreaves, who co-founded Cal’s Student-Athlete Gay-Straight Alliance (SAGSA), put together a video featuring Cal administrators, coaches and student-athletes expressing their support for an open environment for LGBT student-athletes.

The message is that if an athlete is good enough to play a sport, that’s all that should matter – the watchwords of You Can Play’s mission.

“It was very touching to see everyone that stepped up for this,” Hargreaves said. “This is not just for student-athletes at Cal right now, but for student-athletes next year and the year after that. Seeing all these people stand up that have won national championships or Pac-12 titles makes a huge statement.”

Among those speaking out in the video are chancellor Nicholas Dirks, athletic director Sandy Barbour, football coach Sonny Dykes, men’s basketball coach Mike Montgomery, women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb, men’s soccer coach Kevin Grimes, lacrosse coach Ginger Miles, rugby coach Jack Clark and Olympic swimmer Caitlin Leverenz.


Rowing: Cal women’s varsity eight wins NCAA title

The Cal women’s varsity eight boat won the NCAA title on Sunday, leading the Bears to a second-place team finish at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Bears crossed in 6 minutes, 21.426 seconds to beat runnerup Princeton (6:22.595) and third-place finisher Ohio State (6:23.197).

Overall, Cal scored 124 points to finish just two behind team champion Ohio State.

Cal’s second varsity eight boat placed second and its varsity four team won the “B” final.

MEN’S ROWING: The Cal men earned podium finishes in four of five grand finals at the IRA National Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. Washington dominated the competition, winning all five races.

GOLF: Sophomore Michael Kim became the first Cal men’s golfer to win national player of the year honors when he was named the Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the top player in Division I by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Kim won four individual tournament titles this season as the Bears captured 11 of their first 13 events before losing in the semifinal round of match play Saturday at the NCAA championships.

Kim was presented with the honor by Nicklaus at an awards ceremony Sunday during the final round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus.

“To be named the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award is the biggest honor of my career and to be at the award ceremony with Mr. Nicklaus there was truly amazing,” Kim said.