Three UC Berkeley sports saved from elimination

February 11, 2011 10:49:48 AM PST
University of California at Berkeley officials announced today that three sports that had been slated for elimination have been saved, but baseball and men's gymnastics will be cut.

The sports that have been spared are women's lacrosse, women's gymnastics and rugby.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced last Sept. 28 that the university would eliminate five sports in order to reduce its subsidies to its athletics program.

He said the university had been spending more than $12 million in subsidies to sports teams and he wanted to reduce the subsidy to $5 million by 2014.

University officials said fundraising efforts were sufficient to save three of the five sports that had been targeted for elimination.

The university said that in recent months, alumni, student-athletes, coaches and fans mobilized to solicit funding to preserve the teams' intercollegiate status.

But the university said in a statement, "Unfortunately, it was determined that the pledges for baseball and men's gymnastics fell short of the criteria provided to potential donors: sufficient funding to support team expenses for the next seven to 10 years and the presentation of a feasible plan for sustained financial independence."

According to the university, the campus received $12 million to $13 million in philanthropic pledges from the organizers of the fundraising efforts.

The university said that of that total, it is confident that at least $8 million will be available to support the net expenses of women's lacrosse, women's gymnastics and rugby, and that those three teams will be able to cover their costs for at least the next seven to 10 years.

"While every member of the Cal Athletics family is saddened by the fact that the fundraising was not sufficient to bring back all five teams, I want to express my great appreciation and thanks to the literally hundreds of our alumni and friends who rallied to show the kind of financial and emotional support that was necessary to make this decision possible," Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said.


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