In a shocking cost-cutting move, UC-Berkeley has dumped its baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse, and rugby teams. Rugby, the most successful team in the history of the university, will be turned into a club team, while the others will be completely eliminated. The rugby and baseball teams have existed at Berkeley for more than a century. "Everyone deeply regrets the human toll these decisions take," said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. This "will result in a sustainable, financially responsible" sports department, he added. Berkeley's sports department was struggling under millions of dollars of debt at a time when the state is facing its worst financial crisis in history.
"I think it's awful. It's embarrassing that a Pac-10 school is going to cancel their baseball program," said Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow, a former Cal player. The cuts, which become effective next school year, will slice 118 male and 45 female athletes from varsity status. The reductions are based on financial savings as well as the need to comply with Title IX, which requires public institutions to provide equal opportunities for all students. Currently, Cal has some 150 more male than female athletes, and cutting the rugby team was a quick Title IX fix, notes the San Francisco Chronicle.