Bad News Cal Bears Ditch Baseball, Rugby, Two Other Sports

If you happen to be a fan of the Cal-Berkeley baseball team, enjoy this baseball season, because in all likelihood it’s the team’s last.

In an enterprise that will save $4 million a year, the university’s athletic department — which is subsidized by state funds — is doing away with baseball, rugby, men’s and women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse. The New York Times quotes Cal’s athletic director:

Clearly, this is a painful outcome after months of deliberations, analysis and the examination of every viable alternative. I deeply regret the impact this will have on so many valued members of our community.”

The teams will stop playing after this school year. In other news, Washington State fans rejoiced that they no longer have the most pathetic Pac-10 athletic program.

Cal-Berkeley Cuts 5 Athletic Programs [The New York Times]

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  1. jimmyhl says:

    If they did away with football they could probably save everything else.

    • klwillis45 says:

      Yeah, getting rid of the biggest money maker will really help.

      Coke should stop selling Coke & focus on Fanta.

      • grandzu says:

        Like the above link shows, only 14 of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money from campus athletics in the 2009 fiscal year, all the rest lose money consistently.
        “Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Texas and Tennessee are among the select group that made money. So is Missouri, which reported generating $2 million in profits from campus athletics in 2009.”

        • GuidedByLemons says:

          “Campus athletics”, not “football”. Football is the sport that actually makes money for BCS schools; it’s the other sports that lose it.

          • selkie says:

            Not particularly. It’s men’s basketball that is the true cash cow for D1 athletic programs- good gate, good tv contract, low quipment and facility cost and a roster size about a quarter that of a typical football team.

            For all the complaining that would mke it impossible, IMO, the best thing football could do to improve the health of men’s college sports in general is to reduce scholarship limits and roster size by 25%. You’d have a more competitive bowl division top to bottom because the top schools couldn’t stockpile players so much, pushing talent down to the mid-level teams, probably not a huge hit in revenue despite the roster cut, and you can carve out entire men’s golf and tennis teams from the cost savings.

          • Marlin says:

            About half the schools showed a lose even on football per ESPN link above.

    • Battlehork says:

      The athletics programs in general are money losers at nearly every school.
      However, most BCS conference football programs by themselves make money. Men’s basketball may be profitable at certain schools, too. Practically every other sport loses money.

      http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5490686

    • dwb says:

      Jeff Tedford, the head football coach, earned $2,338,409.39 last year.

      http://www.sacbee.com/statepay/

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’m sure there are fans for every one of these programs, but realistically, how many people were showing up for rugby, gymnastics, or women’s lacrosse games? I don’t blame the university for making the cut. We could use a little less bloat in the athletic budget. Maybe some money can now go to actual education and research.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I doubt it will help there. It’s usually in response to the balance required by Title IX. Football & men’s basketball eat up huge chunks of the budget, but also generate most of the revenue. Most of the time, all the money stays in the athletic department.

    • crugg says:

      Well, since rugby is the highest decorated winning sports team on campus, they are nationally and internationally ranked, i think that has a something to do with it. I have seen the stands packed when I go to games. On the other hand they are already pretty sustainable on their own right now so this may not hurt their program. I just think that we are paying Tedford way to much and the football team gets to many benefits and no cuts, unlike all the other teams; who are able to win championships by the way.

  3. Griking says:

    Eliminating sports is a reasonable solution but they should probably announce their plans to do so a few years in advance. This would allow current students to continue playing the sports that they’ve signed up for yet give fair warning to future freshmen.

    That being said, when a school cuts their sports programs does it mean that they will no longer charge students athletic fees described in an earlier article here?

    • humphrmi says:

      That being said, when a school cuts their sports programs does it mean that they will no longer charge students athletic fees described in an earlier article here?

      They aren’t eliminating their athletic program, only cutting several sports out of it. So my guess is, no, if they charge an athletic fee, since they still have athletics, they will probably continue to charge an athletic fee.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree in general, though if you’re looking at which college to attend based on the quality of the team playing the relatively obscure sport of your choice, I urge you to reconsider your priorities.

  4. winnabago says:

    Like someone else said, nothing to do with attendance, everything to do with Title IX balancing. Now they can focus more funds on football and men’s bb.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    Rugby — seriously??? That sucks.

  6. Bkhuna says:

    Have no fear, they still offer courses in gender, womens, african-american, and other study programs that will lead to an exciting career at Applebee’s.

  7. BrianneG says:

    It’s happening throughout the UC system: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/07/state-budget-cuts-strike-down-5-uc-irvine-sports.html

    The state of California hasn’t had a budget since July 1 of this year. Obviously, the state schools are just trying to stay afloat. It sucks for those athletes, hopefully they can transfer to another UC school that has their sport. And the rugby team will just go back to being a club team. I’m pretty sure Cal still over 20 intercollegiate sports, even after cutting these 5 small ones.

  8. BigDave says:

    Phil – this does not make Cal’s athletic program the most pathetic in the Pac-10 [soon to be Pac 12], Wazzu is still crap! Go Bears!

  9. Azagthoth says:

    If you happen to be a fan of the Cal-Berkeley baseball team, enjoy this baseball season, because in all likelihood it’s the team’s last.

    Am I going to have to be the guy who points out that the college baseball season has been over for months?

  10. jk87 says:

    Rugby isn’t being cut but being reduced to an invented category called “varsity club” status, meaning no scholarships, but admissions preferences remain available to students. There’s about 60+ men on the team, so this may also be an attempt to get around Title IX gender equity requirements for scholarship sports.

    • nms says:

      I’m sure it is. Baseball is also being cut in part for Title IX reasons.
      Several of Cal’s MLB alumni attempted to pledge their private money to save the baseball program but were rebuffed. Apparently it is necessary to cut baseball to even out scholarship cuts for the female sports, even though NCAA baseball teams have a maximum of 11.67 scholarships to give

  11. wordsmithy says:

    Go Stanford.

  12. Bearcat44 says:

    In other news, Washington State fans rejoiced that they no longer have the most pathetic Pac-10 athletic program.

    Does this mean Wazzu gets promoted from dollar-store caliber to Wal-mart caliber?

  13. EBone says:

    About time. I went to SDSU, and hated that the athletics programs were being subsidized by my tuition and part time job tax dollars.