Cal saves 3 teams -- baseball, men's gymnastics cut

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Cal saves 3 teams -- baseball, men's gymnastics cut

Feb. 11, 2011

COLLEGE PAGE

BERKELEY (AP) -- California reinstated three teams Friday that were slated to be eliminated in a cost-cutting move after an aggressive fundraising campaign to keep the programs, while going ahead with plans to get rid of the baseball and men's gymnastics teams.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau partially reversed a decision announced in September when he said that enough money has been raised to keep the men's rugby, women's lacrosse and women's gymnastics teams. The two women's teams had been slated for elimination, while men's rugby was going to be reclassified as a "varsity club sport."

"We're three-fifths of the way there and we're not going to stop," said former Cal and major league pitcher Doug Nickle, who was involved with the fundraising efforts for the group "Save Cal Sports.""We're heartened and also emboldened. We're energized. We take our licks and we'll keep coming back."

Campus officials said they received between 12 million and 13 million in pledges to retain the programs. They are confident that 8 million will be available for the three sports that were retained, covering all of their costs for seven to 10 years.

Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary said the pledges specifically for baseball and men's gymnastics were insufficient. He said the baseball program raised between 1.5 million and 2.5 million, which would have covered its costs for about two years.

He said the supporters needed to come up with 10 million to achieve the goal of self-sustainability for the seven-to-10 year period.

"We're very impressed with the way the community has rallied," Yeary said. "The challenge for baseball is it is a larger sport in terms of costs. As a practical manner, they would have had to raise four, five or six times as much money as they raised to remain in position to be maintained. From the very beginning we said we simply could not agree to short term or stopgap measures. We needed a sustainable solution."

Nickle disputes the university's numbers, saying his group raised 15 million and that the money the school is turning away would be more than sufficient to put baseball and men's gymnastics on firm footing.

He said officials never gave the baseball program the 10 million figure and that he believes that target could have been reached if it was made clear and that his group will still work to reinstate the two programs.

"We know the university has now made two wrong decisions," Nickle said. "The University of California deserves better. We will continue to work to provide better."

The plan to cut the sports was part of a broader campaign to reduce UC Berkeley's annual support for intercollegiate athletics from more than 12 million today to about 5 million in 2014.

That became even more necessary after Gov. Jerry Brown recently proposed an additional 500 million in cuts from the UC system budget, which would have taken about 80 million from the Berkeley campus.

"This was always about our ability to fund the programs," athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "This was about getting our expenses down to the point where we have a financial model that would fit with what the university was providing us in terms of institutional support."

Birgeneau said he did not believe the announcement in September was premature, even though three of the programs were eventually retained.

He said he sent a message to athletic department supporters 16 months ago that these cuts might be necessary and little was done to retain them until the announcement was made.

"My message engendered virtually no response for an entire year," he said. "The responses only came after the announcement of the cutting of sports. These sports had a full year to raise funds. But until the actual reality of no longer continuing the varsity sports was on the table, it was not until then that we got this wonderful response that we got now."

The decision to retain the two women's programs keeps Cal in compliance with Title IX under the provision that it was meeting the "interests and abilities" of its female student body.

Had the women's sports been eliminated, Cal would have been in violation of that prong and would have needed to make the percentage of female athletes proportionate to the overall female enrollment. To achieve that, the school would have had to undergo "roster management" a process that would have required the remaining men's teams to reduce their rosters by dozens of athletes, while substantially increasing spots on the remaining women's teams.

Part of the money to fund the two women's sports comes from donors to the rugby program, which needed the women's teams to remain in order for the school to remain in compliance with Title IX if it reinstated rugby.

"Our donors have once again generously demonstrated their high regard for Cal rugby through their impassioned response to these financial challenges," coach Jack Clark said. "

The decision to cut baseball leaves the flagship campus of the University of California as the only Division I school in the state not to field a baseball team.

Cal has won the College World Series in 1947 and 1957 and had nine players appear in the major leagues last season. Perhaps the most notable player in its history is 2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent.

The Golden Bears, who open their season next week, are ranked 17th in the Baseball America preseason poll and are hopeful of making the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.

Cal will honor the existing scholarships for the baseball and men's gymnastics athletes, although many have already started to look at transfer options.

Cam Newton benched to start game vs Seahawks for breaking dress code

Cam Newton benched to start game vs Seahawks for breaking dress code

SEATTLE — A missing necktie led to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton getting benched for one series on Sunday night.

Ron Rivera didn't expect it to last just one play.

Carolina's miserable night was capped by a 40-7 loss to Seattle following the most awkward of starts. With Newton being punished for not having a necktie for the team flight to Seattle, the Panthers' starting QB watched backup Derek Anderson throw an interception on the first play of the game.

The turnover only led to a field goal for Seattle, but it was the start of an otherwise forgettable performance by the Panthers that provided another blow to the dwindling playoff hopes of the reigning NFC champions.

Newton missed just one play, but was also just 14-of-32 passing for 182 yards and one touchdown. After pulling within 10-7 in the second quarter, Carolina let Seattle score the final 30 points.

Seahawks lose Thomas, but run all over Panthers in Seattle

Seahawks lose Thomas, but run all over Panthers in Seattle

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Thomas Rawls ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Tyler Lockett took a reverse 75 yards for a score to open the second half and the Seattle Seahawks routed the Carolina Panthers 40-7 on Sunday night.

Another prime-time game in Seattle was clouded with odd story lines right from the outset when Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was benched for the first play, only to watch backup Derek Anderson throw an interception . It was the start of miserable night for Carolina (4-8) and a laugher that moved Seattle (8-3-1) one step closer to the NFC West title.

Rawls and the run game set the tone for Seattle, gashing the second-best run defense in the NFL for 240 yards. Carolina entered the week giving up less than 80 yards per game on the ground.

Rawls finished with 106 yards on 15 carries, quiet in the second half after briefly being checked for a concussion. He was just the second 100-yard rusher for a run game that has lagged most of the season. Rawls' 8-yard run gave Seattle an early 10-0 lead and his 45-yard sprint early in the second quarter pushed it to 17-7.

Russell Wilson was 26 of 36 for 277 yards and a 1-yard scoring pass to Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks rolled up a season-high 534 yards and kept a three-game lead over Arizona in the division with four remaining.

Seattle safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his lower left leg during a first-half collision with teammate Kam Chancellor while trying to intercept Newton's pass. Thomas hobbled off the field putting no weight on the leg and X-rays revealed a "cracked tibia," coach Pete Carroll told Seattle's radio broadcast.

On the play after Thomas' injury, Newton hit Ted Ginn Jr. on a 55-yard touchdown pass to pull the Panthers to 10-7. It would be the only highlight for Carolina.

Rawls immediately answered, darting through the Carolina defense for the 45-yard touchdown run and a 17-7 lead. Steven Hauschka added two more field goals before halftime and Lockett raced 75 yards on a reverse on the first play of the second half. In less than 10 minutes of game time, Seattle extended the lead to 30-7.

Newton's benching was for a dress code violation, according to the NBC broadcast and the single play he missed could not have gone worse. Anderson rolled out to throw a pass to Mike Tolbert. It bounced off Tolbert's hands and into the arms of Mike Morgan, a disastrous result for that only added to questions about coach Ron Rivera's intention with the punishment.

Newton finished 14 of 32 for 182 yards.

LOPSIDED RESULT

It was seventh meeting in the past five years between the Seahawks and Panthers, playoffs included. It was the first time of the seven the game was decided by more than 14 points. Five of the previous six were decided by seven points or less. The biggest win during the stretch was Seattle's 31-17 win in the 2014 playoffs.

BATTERED PANTHERS

Carolina's injury list grew again.

The Panthers were already without starters Kurt Coleman and Luke Kuechly (concussions), and defensive end Mario Addison (foot) on defense, and right tackle Daryl Williams (ankle) on offense. Carolina then lost cornerback Daryl Worley and linebacker David Mayo to concussions against the Seahawks.

THOMAS TWEETS

One of the most emotional players on Seattle's roster, Thomas hinted at retirement in a tweet sent just before halftime.

"This game has been so good to me no regrets. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers," Thomas tweeted from the Seattle locker room.

Thomas missed the first game of his career last week at Tampa Bay due to a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Carolina returns home and hosts San Diego.

Seahawks: Seattle travels to Green Bay.