Michael's Sports Blog

Cal Baseball Cut, but Now Reinstated

In my sports journalism class, I was surprised to learn that UC Berkley’s baseball was being cut due to lack of funding.  I was intrigued that a school that was part of the Pac-10 conference (now the Pac-12) didn’t have enough money to keep a sports team.   The baseball players were devastated when they heard the news because some had just come to the program and did not know that they were going to have to transfer schools with the loss of the program.  There were early efforts to save the team through fundraising, but the team received $1.5-$2.5 million, when they needed at least $10 million to save the program.

Cal was able to raise $15 million in total for its sport’s teams, enough to save women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, and men’s rugby, but not men’s baseball or men’s gymnastics.  The two women’s sports teams were kept along with one men’s team to meet the Title IX requirements.  Title IX outlaws sex discrimination against school programs that receive federal aid.  The school must meet a requirement on the percentage of female and male athletes, and by keeping two women’s teams and one men’s team, they were able to do this.

It made no sense to me that Cal was cutting a baseball program that started the season ranked eighth in college baseball.  I would assume this team gave a lot of revenue to the school.   The first thought that came to my mind was: “How could you do that to your players?”  However, I learned that it was due to the budget cuts set by Governor Jerry Brown, that reduced funding to UC schools by $80 million.  The school needed more money than many other sports to support the team due the amount of travelling that baseball teams take part in, so unless funding was given, they would be cut.

Players, fans, and coaches kept confident that they were somehow in the near future going to get enough money to keep the program.  A UC Berkley news article said it best about the situation: “The fate of the Golden Bears baseball team remained in doubt until former Bears pitcher Stu Gordon presented Chancellor Robert Birgeneau with philanthropic pledges totaling $9 million.”  With this pledge, the Cal baseball team was reinstated, and players will not have to transfer schools.  I am glad someone was generous enough to give money to the team so that they will be able to play for years to come.

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April 21, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Baseball, Sports | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment