It has been announced that the University of California-Berkeley plans to save $4 million next year by cutting five sports teams. The elimination of the men’s rugby, men’s baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse teams was disclosed in a letter by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, which was released to Berkeley students, faculty, staff and Cal supporters earlier this week.
“The senior administration working closely with Intercollegiate Athletics have concluded that we cannot sustain the level of excellence we expect of everything that we do at Cal and still maintain all of the Intercollegiate Athletic sports that we currently do,” he said in the letter.
While rugby will no longer be considered an intercollegiate sport by the department, the team, with its status as a club, will be able to compete both nationally and internationally. Though, according to the letter, a solid plan is not yet in place to follow through with this transition.
“Across the country at everywhere but Cal, men’s rugby competes at an elite level as a club sport,” he stated in the letter. “For Cal men’s rugby, which was a club sport for many years up until the early 1990s, we anticipate a new tier of ‘varsity club.'”
The letter also states that 163 out of 814 student athletes will be affected by the cuts, but the university will keep existing scholarship commitments to the athletes whose teams have been removed from the roster.
In addition to the cuts of intercollegiate teams, Birgeneau declared in the letter that the department plans to further decrease expenses beyond the $2.4 million reduction, which was authorized by Athletic Director Sandy Barbour last spring.
“We believe we have a well-defined and compelling plan that in three to four years will reduce campus support for Intercollegiate Athletics to approximately $5 million annually,” he said in the letter. “We deeply regret the disappointment that these decisions will cause to many members of our Cal community.”
Via The Daily Californian