Yesterday, it was announced that the University of California was eliminating five athletic programs. Cal isn’t the first or last school that has cut a baseball program but is the first in a long time from an elite conference. I was personally involved during my college days of an athletic department study on the feasibility of adding a baseball program. My alma mater New Hampshire still doesn’t have baseball and ended up cutting three sports a year after the study. I asked our TCBB writers and contributors to share their thoughts on Cal cutting these five sports.
Brian Foley, Editor of The College Baseball Blog
I was highly disappointed that Cal cut Baseball and the other four sports. We all know that Cal baseball had some of the worst facilities in the Pac-10 and the school never committed to the program with Evans Field. I am very disappointed in women’s lacrosse being cut also as the sport is booming across the country right now with participation in the last 10 years doubling. I believe if some money could have been raised by the Athletic Department with talking with influential alums then we wouldn’t be in this position. Penn State just recently added Men’s and Women’s Hockey after an 85 million dollar donation by an alumnus. Are you telling me that Cal couldn’t have raised 20 million for baseball and women’s lacrosse?
Mark Rafferty, Assistant Editor of The College Baseball Blog
It’s a shame to see it get to this. Cal has a lot coming back this year, especially with Dixon Anderson spurning the Orioles after getting drafted in the 6th round. The Pac-10 is far and away set to be the most competitive conference in college baseball in 2011, and with a recent history of such MLB players like Brandon Morrow, Conor Jackson, Brennan Boesch and John Baker, there’s a lot of history that could be forgotten about. When I was at Arizona State, they had cut wrestling, but the program was able to find the funds to continue. Hopefully something like that can happen at Cal.
Katherine Hasenauer Cornetta, Sr. Writer for The College Baseball Blog
I am sad not only for baseball, but for the gymnastics and women’s lacrosse teams they cut as well. Collegiate athletics provide opportunity and motivation for so many students who may not attend college otherwise. That being said, Cal made the right move by allowing the teams involved to play one last season. Giving teams a swan song is better for the student-athletes mentally than just pulling the plug.
It does concern me when a relatively inexpensive sport as baseball is cut, and does make me worry about other programs at state schools across the country. Do athletic departments no longer see the value in D1 baseball?
William Knox, Sr. Writer for The College Baseball Blog
It’s a sad day when a school has to cut a sport, especially when it’s baseball. It isn’t an easy road for most schools, seeing as how baseball teams are not big money makers outside of Austin, Baton Rouge, and Fayetteville. Cal losing its team is a hard hit for both the players and fans in Berkeley and the Pac 10 as a whole.
Ryan Rosenblatt, BruinsNation.com writer and TCBB Contributor
To be completely honest, this move doesn’t surprise me so much. When Cal announced that they were looking to cut several million from their athletic budget and knowing that they had an abnormally high number of sports, it will clear that some sports would be cut. When you take into account the cost of baseball and Cal’s lack of success, the program getting cut seemed likely. The problem is that the program’s lack of success can be directly attributed to the horrible support it got from the administration so if it were properly supported, this wouldn’t be an issue. Now, the program is gone, but the incompetent athletic department that has ruined several programs for a long time is still around to reign over the remaining sports.
Katie Dowd, Daily Cal Staff and TCBB Contributor
From being around the Cal athletic department for the past four years as a sports writer for the Daily Californian, I, and all of us, knew that sports cuts were impending; what we didn’t know was the severity. Baseball’s abrupt cut came as a true shock to everyone in and around the program. Logistically, unfortunately for the Bears, it does make sense. They have lots of scholarship players, very expensive travel and a many support staff needs. Combined with their continued mediocrity in conference play, it wasn’t a sterling recommendation when the ax came around.
The real tragedy lies in the way this situation was handled. The teams weren’t given notice — until hours before the news went official on Tuesday afternoon — and couldn’t make cases for why they should be kept. They couldn’t get alumni donations or contingency plans together. Now, all the decisions have already made, all without the input of the people most affected by them.