Three of the five University of California, Berkeley athletic programs that were set to be axed from intercollegiate competition were saved from the chopping block this morning.
Campus officials announced today that the school will now preserve women’s lacrosse, women’s gymnastics and rugby because of new “philanthropic commitments.”
In September, the University decided to remove five teams from intercollegiate participation in an effort to make its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics solvent. However, newfound funding will allow three of these sports teams to stay afloat, all while the department remains on track to reduce its budget by $5 million annually by 2014.
“We are all greatly impressed by how our community organized itself in the attempt to help these five sports and the university,” said Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary in a statement. “We are delighted that, together, we have found a path that allows us to retain the two women’s teams and our rugby program without adding costs to the strained budgets of the university and Cal Athletics.”
The school’s baseball and men’s gymnastic teams were less fortunate and will still be eliminated by 2012. This will bring the total number of Cal athletic teams to 25.
Today’s announcement means that no women’s teams at the University would be affected by the cuts. A recent article in the New York Times suggested that teams could possibly reinstated to fulfill requirements of Title IX, the federal equity in sports law.
“By offering all of our women’s sports, we can meet the requirements of Title IX in a way that will allow the return of men’s sports, provided that the returned sports can cover all direct and indirect costs, including those of support programs and use of facilities,” wrote Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in a statement.
In September, The Daily Cal revealed that Cal athletics had fallen deeply into the red and required $13.7 million in campus support during the 2008-09 fiscal year. After the announcement of the cuts in September, team supporters aimed to raise $25 million to ensure the survival of the five teams over the next 10 years.
Baseball and men’s gymnastics “fell far short” of its fundraising goals, according to Birgeneau.