April 11, 2011
University of California Berkeley baseball fans have something to celebrate--according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the university announced on Friday that it would reinstate the school's baseball program.
Forced to deal with severe budget cuts, the university said in September that it would cut four athletic programs--baseball, men's and women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse. Officials also said that the men's rugby team would be designated to a varsity sport.
After hearing the news, supporters gathered to raise $9 million to cover the baseball team's operating costs, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education. In February, alumni, students and fans were also able to raise enough money to bring back women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse and rugby. The men's gymnastics team is the only program that has yet to be reinstated.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the $9 million raised by private donors was actually short of the $10 million that Chancellor Robert Birgeneau originally told supporters was needed to reinstate the baseball team. However, Chancellor Birgeneau later deemed the amount enough for the program to continue.
"I am grateful, on behalf of the campus community, for what our alumni and supporters have accomplished, and pleased that Cal baseball will continue to represent the university in intercollegiate competition," said Birgeneau in a press release. Later he added, "I have faith in the community's ability not only to meet, but to exceed, the $10 million target in the near future."
Cal officials also announced that supporters have not only raised enough one-time funding for the baseball team, but they are also working with the university to devise a plan to raise more annual resources, starting with the 2011-12 season.
The press release noted that the funds raised in the last six months, as well as the expected ongoing fundraising, will support the costs of baseball, women's lacrosse, rugby and women's gymnastics, enabling Cal Athletics to achieve the campus's request that intercollegiate sports programs be financially self-sustaining and only rely on $5 million a year from the institution by 2014.
Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin
"Baseball program will continue at UC Berkeley," newscenter.berkeley.edu, April 8, 2011, Herb Benenson
"Berkeley Will Keep Baseball, After All," chronicle.com, April 8, 2011
"Cal baseball survives to see 2012," mercurynews.com, April 8, 2011, Jonathan Okanes