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.

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

As the defending champion Cavaliers are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals, the consensus is they will meet the Warriors there and, moreover, that Part III of the trilogy promises to be the most compelling yet.

Chris Mullin is not so sure.

The Hall of Fame forward and current St. John's head coach, a guest Wednesday on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast, perceives a reasonable chance of sweeping the series.

“I’m going on the record saying 4-2, just because maybe I want to see six games,” Mullin said. “I would not be surprised if it’s 4-1 or 4-zero. I think they’re that good.”

Recalling how the Warriors started sluggishly after a one-week layoff ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, Mullin conceded there could be some rust but probably not enough to invite a loss.

“I don’t want to lay any . . . pressure, but the Warriors, to me, this team that we’re watching is going to go down in history as one of the best teams of all time,” he said. “I believe that. I think they will stay together and that’s we’re probably going to see four Hall of Fame players that have played together and have dominated and become a dynasty. That’s what we’re going to look back on.

“There’s just a huge disparity between them and the rest of the league -- and not just the Cavaliers. But there’s a huge disparity between them and the Cavaliers. “

The Warriors defeated Cleveland in six games to win the championship in 2015, but the Cavaliers recovered from a 3-1 deficit to take the rematch last June.

Though both teams have made substantive changes, Mullin is more impressed with what the Warriors have done, including the addition of four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant to a nucleus that included All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Mullin pointed out that the losses of Andrew Bogut, along with subtractions to their fabled depth and chemistry, led some to wonder if the Warriors might lose the magic of the previous two seasons. He also understands that point of view.

“But as I see it now,” he said, “I think they’re deeper and have better chemistry than they did last year when they won 73 games.”

It’s not that Mullin gives the Cavaliers, who have won 11 of 12 games in these playoffs, zero chance to win the series. It is just, in his view, very slim. “Cleveland, they’ve got really good people,” he said. “Their talent, I’m not discounting at all. LeBron and Kyrie and Kevin Love, these guys are great, great players.

“I feel like the Warriors are just a notch above everybody. I really believe that.”

 

Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

CHICAGO -- The Giants wanted Christian Arroyo to force his way up to the big leagues. Chris Shaw isn't exactly in the same boat, but he is now at the same level where Arroyo was to start the year. 

Shaw, the top power-hitting prospect in the organization, was promoted from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday morning. General manager Bobby Evans said Shaw, a first baseman in his first couple of years in the minors, will continue his recent outfield work. Shaw had been playing left field in Richmond and he will be the primary left fielder in Sacramento.

"He's put himself in a position where the next test is the Triple-A level," Evans said. "He was starting to get to the point where he was ready for the next challenge."

It is unlikely that Shaw gets promoted again this season because the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. Arroyo, on the other hand, would have been added after this season anyway. Austin Slater, who also needs to be added at some point in 2017, is more likely to earn a September call-up. The Giants do, however, leave the door open for prospects to force the issue. 

The 23-year-old Shaw was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft. He hit 12 homers in 46 games in rookie ball and then slugged 16 in 72 games for the San Jose Giants, earning a promotion late in 2016. Shaw had five more homers in two months with the Flying Squirrels and he opened up this year with six in 133 at-bats. 

In three minor league seasons, Shaw is batting .277 with a .350 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage. He has 39 homers in 813 professional at-bats, along with 59 doubles and four triples. In 37 games this season, Shaw has 26 strikeouts and 18 walks.

"He controls the strike zone and he's got a fairly decent eye," Evans said. "He strikes out a relatively low percentage of the time and has a pretty good walk rate for a power guy."

Shaw played quite a bit in the outfield at Boston College but he was a first baseman in the minors until this season. With Brandon Belt locked in at first at the big league level, the Giants started giving Shaw starts in left field. Before leaving Richmond, Shaw made 18 starts in the outfield, totaling 158 innings. 

Listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Shaw would be big in left, even by the Giants' standards. In the past, scouts -- who admitted they had only seen him at first -- insisted he probably can't handle the position, but the Giants disagree. Shaw is said to have the footwork to handle left, but he's working on getting comfortable with throws. 

"He played a lot of outfield in college, pretty close to 100 games, mostly in right field," Evans said. "We'd like to give him as much time as possible to get comfortable.  We discussed (the outfield) this spring and we made a more conscious decision to get him out there (in left). That was a discussion from the time he was drafted."