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Cal cuts baseball, other sports to save money

September 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced the university will eliminate its baseball team and three other varsity sports teams in a move aimed at saving $4 million a year.

Vince Bruno always dreamed of playing baseball and attending UC Berkeley, but on Monday one of those dreams was shattered because as of next year there will be no Cal baseball.

"This happens, but it kind of makes you stronger in a way. Hopefully it will work out for me, it wasn't the cookie cutter idea of what I was going to have coming to Berkeley, but somehow we will make the best of it this year," he said.

Now he and his teammates will have to decide if they want to stay at this top university or transfer somewhere else to pursue the sport.

"Baseball is prominent across America and everyone knows that. Among the Cal community it is huge and cutting that is unfathomable. We don't get it," Cal baseball player Paul Toboni said.

It wasn't just baseball, but four other sports which will now go away.

"Baseball, men's and women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse and rugby will no longer represent the university as intercollegiate sports," UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenerau said.

Rugby will remain, but as a varsity club sport. It will be funded by the university for the next three years until it can sustain itself.

Birgenerau said this action was necessary following the state's budget cuts and the rising costs of the athletic department.

"We went two years without hiring faculty, where we went a year with furloughs, where we laid off 500 low paid workers which we hated to do. We can't justify university support of athletics at the level of $10 million, $15 million or $20 million. It's just not possible," said Birgenerau.

The number of sports at Cal will now go from 29 to 24 and more than 160 student-athletes and 13 full-time coaches will be affected. When all is said and done, the cuts represent a savings of $4 million for the university next year.

Other public universities that have programs with more than 24 sports include the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.


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