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UC Berkeley Looks To Save Men’s Gymnastics Program

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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