Baseball to Continue at UC Berkeley; Men’s Gymnastics Still Fundraising

All the weeping and gnashing of teeth that has gone on over the discontinuation of Cal’s baseball program should come to an end after today’s announcement from the university.

From UC Berkeley:

The University of California, Berkeley, baseball program will continue to represent the campus as an Intercollegiate Athletics sport, now and into the future, as the result of a successful and ongoing fundraising effort on the part of alumni, former players, parents of current players The University of California, Berkeley, baseball program will continue to represent the campus as an Intercollegiate Athletics sport, now and into the future, as the result of a successful and ongoing fundraising effort on the part of alumni, former players, parents of current players and other team supporters, campus officials said today

After a significant increase in philanthropic pledges in the last few days, commitments totaling $9 million were presented to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau yesterday by Stu Gordon, a former Golden Bear pitcher and leader of the fundraising effort. In light of the fact that the funds raised remain about 10 percent short of the previously identified $10 million goal, donors and the campus administration have agreed that the team’s formal reinstatement will be announced once the $10 million target is met through continued fundraising. Full press release.

Cal also said this about the campaign to save Men’s Gymnastics, the only program of the original five that the university slated for cancellation last September that has yet to be reinstated.

While men’s gymnastics remains short of its fundraising goals, the team’s supporters, organized as “Cal Gymnastics Forever,” continue to raise the funds necessary to support the team’s continuation or reinstatement. To date, philanthropic pledges have been reported to amount to just under half of the $4 million required to support the team’s net expenses over the next 7-10 years.

“We will continue to support the fundraising activities of men’s gymnastics,” said Barbour. “I am certain that baseball’s success will add new momentum to the efforts, and I hope that there will be a successful outcome.”

Update 4:00 p.m. Berkeleyside talked to lead-fundraiser Stu Gordon:

Stu Gordon, the former Golden Bear pitcher who led the effort to save Cal baseball, said today that well over 1,000 people contributed to the fundraising effort. Gordon himself, now a lawyer, gave an initial $500,000 and topped it up with a further $50,000. He said 40 people had given over $50,000 in the drive, and a further 100 people had given between $25,000 and $50,000.

Gordon said Jeff Kent, the Cal player who went on to an all-star career in Major League Baseball, had given over $100,000. Controversial agent Scott Boras had given $50,000 because of his belief in the importance of talent flowing from Cal.

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Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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