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UC Berkeley Looks To Save Men’s Gymnastics Program

BERKELEY (KCBS) – The University of California, Berkeley has saved its baseball program from the chopping block and efforts are underway to do the same for men’s gymnastics.

Last September, Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour had the unenviable task of announcing that due to a severe budget shortfall, five teams would have to be disbanded: men’s baseball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s gymnastics and rugby.

Since then, through a massive fundraising effort, four of the teams have been saved, with the baseball team the latest to be cleared to play next year.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

And now, Barbour said things are looking up for men’s gymnastics as well.

“We’ve been in constant communication with the leadership of men’s gymnastics, just like we have been with the baseball fundraising leadership,” she said. “They are making great progress.”

The program was told that it needed to raise $4 million in pledges over eight years.

“We are close to $2 million right now,” said Neil Popovic, a former Cal gymnast who is helping to spearhead the fundraising effort known as Cal Gymnastics Forever. “Our approach is that we expect (the program) to continue until we’ve been told that it can’t.”

The NCAA gymnastics championships are scheduled for next week and Cal’s team is currently ranked third in the nation. Popovic said that he hopes a good showing will prove to the university and the gymnastics community that this is a program worth saving.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • interested party

    To be accurate, UCB and Sandy Barbour are doing little to raise money. It’s a group of ex-gymnasts and other interested parties who are doing this. Why doesn’t Barbour go to the people who donated 320 million dollars for a new stadium and ask for help?

    • Michael

      good question. Best answer probably is because he just asked them to donate $320 mill for a new stadium

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  • moravecglobal

    UCBerkeleyNews. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, men’s, and women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $ 3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) to pay the consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

    UC Berkeley reprimand, censure: NCAA places Chancellor Birgeneau’s men’s basketball program on two years probation.

    Let there be light for transparency to UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau’s inept leadership

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
    World class preeminent public research and teaching University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004 the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the 2nd leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking tumbled to 39th. By 2011 Cal had not returned to 2nd place. Cal below top ten in tuition to Return on Investment (ROI)

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