The Price of Excellence

Can Cal afford athletics?
By Eric Simons

On October 7, 2006, one of the largest and rowdiest crowds in Cal football history showed up at Memorial Stadium to watch then-16th-ranked Cal play the 11th-ranked, undefeated Oregon. It was the biggest home game of the year, for a team with a ton of preseason hype and legitimate national title aspirations. The 72,000-seat stadium was packed to the highest risers.

It was not the only big event on campus that week. Four days earlier, Berkeley professor George Smoot had won the Nobel Prize for physics and just before kickoff the laureate trotted out onto the turf along with Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. The student section, a jumping, chaotic jumble of blue-and-gold fanatics, began chanting “No-bel Prize! No-bel Prize!” After flipping the ceremonial pregame coin, Smoot clambered onto the dais separating the stands from the field, and led the students in a cheer of “Go Bears!”

If you were in Memorial Stadium that day, listening to a raucous crowd of football fans roaring their approval of the astrophysicist who discovered anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, you could be forgiven for thinking that there was no place in the world that had married academics and athletics quite like Cal had. Where else but Berkeley would such diverse stars as George Smoot and DeSean Jackson be celebrated in equal measure?

Being good at everything— something the administration likes to call “comprehensive excellence”—has become a kind of Berkeley mantra. In the best of times, it’s a high aspiration to hold, but in 2010, when the state has cut the University of California’s funding by hundreds of millions of dollars, the Regents have raised student fees by 9.3 percent, and faculty and staff have been forced to take furloughs, comprehensive excellence begins to look like an impossible dream.

Last fall a group of faculty members submitted a resolution to the faculty senate asking the chancellor to stop subsidizing sports and to prioritize education, as befitting one of the premier universities in the world. It passed, 91–68. While the gesture was largely symbolic (only about 10 percent of the faculty cast a vote and the measure is non-binding), it underscored a problem for a university that suddenly has more than its share and rekindled debate about the kind of place Cal should be.

Brian Barsky, a professor of vision science and computer science, is one of the two lead authors of the Academics First measure along with mechanical engineering professor Alice Agogino. He says he was motivated to introduce the faculty senate resolution when he discovered that intercollegiate athletics was receiving millions of dollars, which he says could have supported academics at a time when the university needed to focus on its core mission of education and research. As evidence, he points to plans to close the library over final exam week, a virtual freeze on hiring of new faculty, an English department that had telephones removed from its offices, student programs and course offerings that are being cut, and a high school science education program that no longer exists.

“That’s how severe this situation is becoming, and I think it’s just egregious,” Barsky says. “Couldn’t the alumni still enjoy the games if the teams won a little less often and the faculty offices still had telephones?”

Cal Athletics, as an auxiliary of the University, is technically supposed to be self-funding. It’s not. For the last two decades, the University administration has been kicking in an extra few million dollars per year. Another roughly $2 million per year comes directly from student fees. This may come as a surprise to many fans. “We did a survey of the American public in 2005, and basically three out of four Americans believe that big-time sports generate profits for the entire university to use,” says Amy Perko, the executive director of the Knight Commission, which studies intercollegiate athletics and academics. “That’s a myth, and once you break down the tremendous costs of these programs, the public as well as faculty are shocked to find out that’s not the case.”

Even with the subsidies it gets, Cal’s athletic department often hasn’t been able to make ends meet. In four of the past six years, the department has posted a deficit—on average, $6.1 million, against average annual expenses of $57.1 million. The University has always covered those deficits—and before 2007, forgiven them—leading to total “costs to campus,” Barsky says, of as much as $13 million a year.

This too, is par for the course. According to the NCAA, more than 80 athletic programs with Division 1-A football teams ran deficits, and the median deficit was $8 million. Typically, that difference is covered by a subsidy from the school.

For many faculty, that’s no consolation. “[Intercollegiate athletics] is not something that should be paid by the chancellor or student fees,” says anthropology professor Laura Nader, one of the sponsors of the resolution. “I’m teaching a big course with 300 people this spring, and the person who’s best to teach that course can’t do it because the department can’t find the $7,500 to pay him. That’s the issue, as far as I’m concerned. Academics first.”

Athletics isn’t the only campus unit that has run up deficits. Vice Chancellor for Administration Nathan Brostrom, who arrived at Berkeley three years ago and helped write a new campus deficit resolution policy, says that one of the things that amazed him when he first started working on campus was how freely everyone was spending.

“I don’t want to pick on any of my academic friends, but actually you don’t have to pick because they’re fairly widespread,” he says. “They’d have a budget, they’d exceed it, and it would just be wiped off the books.”

Public health, business, optometry, disabled students, recreational sports—they had all run up deficits, had the debts paid, and been forgiven, Brostrom says. Athletics, at least, has the potential to pay back the money, unlike the academic departments, which generally lack revenue streams. And both Brostrom and Athletics Director Sandy Barbour point out that Intercollegiate Athletics ran no deficits in 2007 or 2008—before the downturn in the economy last year led to a $5 million loss in revenues (mainly due to poor ticket sales) and increased costs (mainly due to increased fees for student athletes).

Barbour acknowledges that that doesn’t let athletics off the hook. “For us to miss our mark by $5 million is not acceptable,” she says. “I get that.” She also knows there’s another $6.4 million deficit projected for 2010, which the University will again cover, and the athletics department will at some point have to repay. That could mean that the University will have to reduce the scope of the athletics program (i.e., eliminate teams), or just accept lower standards in terms of performance.

At the end of 1990—a year that also featured a state budget crisis—then-Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien asked a committee to answer three questions about athletics at Berkeley. The main one was: What should the University’s athletics mission be?

A year later, the committee came back to Tien—always a sideline presence at Cal football games—with the task force report equivalent of a lusty “Go Bears!” The committee chair, sociology professor Neil Smelser, wrote in his recommendation: “The Chancellor and Athletic Director should affirm that Cal’s intercollegiate athletic mission is to compete, yearly and across the board, at the top levels of the Pacific Ten conference and in post-season and national championship play.” Rejecting the idea of a dichotomy between athletics and academic life, the committee urged the chancellor to go full bore in pursuing “competitive excellence” in “all dimensions of campus life.”

Nineteen years later, the University fields 27 teams, almost all of them at the highest levels of national competition. In four of the last five years, Cal has finished in the top ten in the Directors Cup standings, which recognize achievement across all intercollegiate sports.

The current chancellor, Robert Birgeneau, is equally committed to the ideal of comprehensive excellence. People now question it, he says, “because everyone wants us to make compromises and admit we really can’t be as good as we are. I don’t accept that.”

Across-the-board superiority makes Cal what it is, Birgeneau insists. “It’s one of the reasons I came to Berkeley. I spent almost all my career at MIT, which is a great place, but MIT consciously was not committed to comprehensive excellence, and instead decided to excel at science and engineering, and some social sciences. I find the comprehensive excellence at Berkeley makes it a much more interesting place.”

As with any bottom-line concern, of course, the problem boils down to two options: cut costs, or raise revenues.

Critics tend to focus on costs, especially in football, many of which seem frivolous. For example: The football team stays in a nice hotel the night before home games and the team travels to away games by chartered plane. Then there’s the matter of head coach Jeff Tedford’s $1.5 million salary.

Barbour counters that what look like excesses are really just the costs of doing business in Division 1-A football. “People can point to what they consider to be excesses in any of our programs,” Barbour says. “I would challenge them to really sit down and look at what our perceived excesses look like compared to some of our competition. Not only in the Pac-10, but nationally. From a comparative standpoint they wouldn’t look like excesses at all.”

The problem is that football is also the biggest money-maker for Cal. The profits, about $12.5 million in 2008, are a crucial part of the athletics budget. Start cutting football expenses, even the seemingly extravagant ones, and you risk losing the competitive edge, Barbour says. If the team becomes less competitive, ticket sales fall, merchandise sales fall, donations fall, and so on. Rather than take a unilateral approach to carving out football excesses, Barbour wants the NCAA to put rules in place that would rein in spending for everyone.

For now, Barbour prefers to concentrate on ways to raise revenues. The Pac-10 conference will be renegotiating its television and media contract, which most observers expect will yield more favorable terms for the campuses. Another boost could come from the Endowment Seating Program (ESP), a complicated financing mechanism whereby money from the sale of seats in the renovated Memorial Stadium, pledged for periods as long as 50 years, will go into an endowment fund. The earnings on the endowment will flow into the general athletics budget. Meanwhile, the University will borrow against athletic revenues to fund the stadium renovation.

By the end of 2009, according to Nathan Brostrom, more than 65 percent of the ESP seats had sold (a few to the Cal Alumni Association in a deal that includes ad space in this magazine), far in advance of expectations. “We have a projected budget of $300 million,” said Brostrom of the stadium retrofit. “We are fortunate in that construction bids are aggressive in this environment and financing rates are near all-time lows.”

Faculty critics are incredulous. Says Barsky: “This is an auxiliary which has never repaid one cent of the $171 million that it has drained from the campus coffers since 1991. That is more than the total shortfall from the state budget that Berkeley suffered this year and generated all the cuts we are enduring. But the plan now is to take out loans for almost half a billion dollars for the stadium project, and rely on this unit to repay it—a unit that operates in the red year after year. What if Intercollegiate Athletics does not manage to bring in enough revenue? Who’s left holding the bag?”

For her part, Laura Nader would like to end Cal’s intercollegiate sports program entirely. She speaks admiringly of the University of Chicago, a premier academic institution that ended intercollegiate football in the 1940s. And she pointedly rejects the notion of comprehensive excellence. “Berkeley excellence is PR,” Nader says. “Chicago’s one of the best universities around, and they don’t have intercollegiate sports. They have sports. That’s the point that’s never made. The Europeans have sports on their campuses, it’s just not intercollegiate.”

Backers of athletics counter that, among other things, intercollegiate sports bring a unity to the campus that’s unique among extracurricular activities. Barbour and Birgeneau both argue that the opening day of football season is a lift for students and a time-honored way for alumni to reconnect with their campus. Birgeneau says that one of the only major differences between Cal and the University of Toronto, where he was president before coming to Berkeley, is the intercollegiate athletics program. He believes it’s one of the reasons that students at Berkeley are more satisfied than their Toronto counterparts. He cites a 2008 survey of 3,400 Berkeley undergraduates: Nearly 94 percent said they were proud to be a student on the campus.

Nader, though, says that’s ridiculous. “They’re more satisfied,” she scoffs. “What’s the evidence? Suicide rate, alcoholism? When I came to Berkeley, you couldn’t get alcohol within two miles of campus. Now weekends are heavy drinking. It’s sad. I know my students better than most because I read their papers. Don’t tell me they’re ‘more satisfied.’”

Nader pointed me to an earlier critic of Cal athletics: author Upton Sinclair, who visited the campus in the early 1900s. “In other parts of the world, when you hear of the ‘classics,’ you think of Homer and Virgil; but in California the ‘classics’ are the annual Stanford-California football game,” the socialist firebrand wrote in a 1923 book called The Goose-step: A Study of American Education. “I asked a student about to graduate what he thought of his classmates, and his answer was, ‘They are a mob of little haters. They hate the Germans, they hate the Russians, they hate the Socialists, they hate the Japs. They are ready to hate the French or the English any time they are told to; and always they hate Stanford.’”

“Beat Stanford” may still be the rallying cry on the Cal campus, but the athletics department under Barbour has generally tried to mirror the diversity and academic aspirations of the University as a whole. She stresses that graduation rates for football players have improved under Coach Tedford and points with particular pride to the recent success of the women’s swimming team: Cal won its first national championship last year, while also peaking in team GPA.

Even football has had its standouts. Alex Mack was a sophomore when George Smoot flipped the coin at the 2006 Cal-Oregon game. A year later, he was already being heavily recruited for the NFL. Mack, though, chose to stay in school and in his senior year he was not only named an All-American at his position, he also won the Draddy Award—the “academic Heisman,” annually presented to the country’s best student football player. Ultimately, Mack was picked in the first round of the NFL draft and now plays for the Cleveland Browns. “That’s what we’re after,” Barbour says. “If that isn’t comprehensive excellence, I don’t know what is.”

The Knight Commission’s Perko, who coincidentally played college basketball at Barbour’s alma mater, Wake Forest, says a recent survey of university presidents suggests the economy may force schools like Cal to cut less popular sports from its roster. She points out that Berkeley’s 27 teams put it among the top universities in the country for broad-based athletics programs, well ahead of the Pac-10 average (22.7) or the SEC average (19.5).

“I think philosophically—not financially, not practically, but philosophically— we’re just a part of this university,” Barbour says. “What should we be about? I think we should be about a large, robust, and diverse athletic program.” Whether or not Cal Athletics would still qualify as “large, robust and diverse” with, say, 25 teams and fewer national champions, is an open question. Like so many debates, it comes down to what we value and what we’re willing to pay for, in both good times and in bad.

 

Epilogue: In an open letter sent to members of the Academic Senate in October 2009, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour wrote that “dramatic changes in the scope” of Cal’s athletic program, were under careful consideration. “While all options are on the table for FY10–11, eliminating an intercollegiate team is an intense process that can have significant repercussions,” Barbour wrote. “We are undertaking a thorough program review to analyze all of these impacts before making any final decisions on the future shape of the department.” An announcement based on that review was expected as of press time.

From the Spring 2010 Searchlight on Gray Areas issue of California.
Image source: Michael J. Burns/ISI
Share this article:
Google+ Reddit

Comments

What I value and what I am willing to pay for and support as a Berkeley alumnus is NOT intercollegiate athletics. Comprehensive excellence for a university is a joke unless it refers to academic excellence and truly benefits its students, faculty members, and the wider community. Athletics programs that benefit all students are important for their physical and emotional health. As a student, I appreciated the opportunity to use a beautiful swimming pool and take classes in modern dance. I had no interest as a student and have none now in intercollegiate programs that benefit a tiny number of individuals and have no relevance to a university’s mission. I support the clear-sightedness and integrity of the faculty members who recognize that this is the right moment for Berkeley to rid itself of intercollegiate sports programs that are economically parasitic on the university in both good times and bad.
Every time the issue of ‘Can Cal Afford Athletics” comes up - football is put in the cross hairs. Yet to cite percieved football ‘excesses’ and salaries as reasons to cut the Athletic Dept budget is misguided at best. Football is clearly the #1 money maker for the Athletic Department - and their profit pays for most of the financial losses sustained by the other sports teams Cal fields. If the concern really was about Athletics paying for itself, you could eliminate every sport except for football and basketball - and you would instantly have a profitable department that could begin paying back monies borrowed from UC. I had several classmates who participated in non-revenue sports programs - and my daughter aspires to swim for the Blue and Gold one day (kudos to Coach Teri McKeever and the 2009 Women’s Swim team for winning the NCAA Championship) so I strongly believe a comprehensive sports program is part of what make Cal special. As a contributor to Cal Athletics and UC Berkeley, I can respect (even if I disagree with) those who honestly state they just don’t believe intercollegiate athletics should be a part of Cal or the Cal experience - but it seems to me that many, hiding behind the veil of financial prudence, just like to take shots at football. I wonder how many who voted for the resolution last Fall would have been so vocal if the question was, “Can Cal afford women’s athletics?”
I am a proud California Golden Bear alum. I also attended Harvard for my JD and MBA. I donate to Cal Athletics (mostly football and men’s basketball) and UCB’s general fund. I also donate much smaller amounts to HBS and HLS in order to increase their respective donation rates (versus absolute sums). That and the fact my classmates at Harvard are much better at hounding me for donations. I can only speak for myself, but there is little chance I would donate anywhere near as much to Cal if it were not for the sports programs. Even after nearly two decades since my graduation, I still go to campus for sporting events. I’m starting to attend women’s basketball and rugby matches. I would never attend any sporting event for Harvard. (I admittedly went to the Harvard-Yale football game for about 20 minutes before deciding it was better to go work out at the gym since the level of play on the field was so bad. Sadly, I am not kidding.) I often wondered how unfortunate it was for the undergrads not to have the option to cheer for their football and basketball teams on a truly competitive level. I remember very few of my professors and even less of the courses I took at Cal. I do remember the fun I had watching Jason Kidd take Cal to a Sweet 16 and a first date I had with someone special at a football game in Memorial. I agree with Sandy that intercollegiate athletics are a PART of the university. I was never good enough athletically to represent the university in a sport, but I could at least feel like I was a part of something bigger by supporting the teams. It would be truly sad and a huge mistake to eliminate intercollegiate athletics from THE University of California. Then, we would become Stanford.
To address the budget crisis which has forced class cutbacks, faculty furloughs, and student fee hikes, the Faculty Senate Resolution on Intercollegiate Athletics (IA) recommends ending the diversion of millions of dollars annually to subsidize IA. Athletics is important. I strongly support the P.E. Dept because I benefited from the many courses I took there as an undergrad. A friend of mine entered Berkeley to play intercollegiate sports, but she found that the travel and time demands impinged too heavily on her studies so she switched to intramural sports. Thus, I also support a strong club sports program. I used to support IA because I believed that big-time sports generated profits and increased alumni giving for the university. Now a large array of studies have debunked both these myths. Still, can we not have IA as part of the university? By statute, IA is supposed to be self-sustaining, and schools such as the U. of Texas show that IA can be self-funded and thus be part of the university as a previous writer notes. But IA definitely is not an integral part germane to the core mission of the university. What do we do when IA drains millions away from academic programs each year? In the interplay between athletics and academics, is there anyone who doubts that academics must come first? What caught my attention was the revelation that the new Student Athlete High Performance Center is to be restricted to 450 athletes and is not open to regular students. For those alumni who feel we should have IA, let the dollars speak. Several writers below tell us that they donate to IA. But if the money is not enough to enable these programs to pay for themselves, then elimination of these programs is merely the reflection of weak alumni support. Chancellor Birgeneau embraces the concept of “comprehensive excellence” which he says is lacking at MIT because that school emphasizes science. But I say “comprehensive excellence” already exists at UCB because we are strong in Science AND the Humanities AND the Social Sciences. IA does not belong as part of this equation. We should be proud of Berkeley because it produces Rhodes Scholars or high acceptance rates at graduate schools. I must disagree with Sandy Barbour when she cites an NFL first round pick and says, “That’s what we’re after.” To Chancellor Birgeneau, I say accept the Faculty Resolution. You will hear from those who oppose it, but be assured there are many alumni who will support you. To current students, I say don’t waste your time marching or “striking.” Do something constructive and request that Chancellor Bergeneau implement the Resolution. To the faculty, I say thank you for having the courage to assert that academics must come first. Concerning Coach Tedford’s $1.5 million salary — does that make him the highest paid employee on the Berkeley campus? Just asking.
DaveT says he doesn’t remember any courses or professors from his Berkeley days but he remembers the football games. He certainly had his Berkeley education wasted on him. (Too bad he wasn’t lucky enough to go to college in Florida, where there is real football excellence!)
Sorry it was CrimsonBear and not DaveT who remembers football but not courses or professors. It’s had to keep track because the detractors don’t use their real names.
Cal has all this talent in scholars and educated personnel and they can’t seem to make it work so that sports continues to be part of the program. It is sad that Cal is no better than the elected officials who seem to be running our state into the ground. Sports as well as the academics is very important to the college scene and anyone that thinks different really never played sports while they were attending college. It is all about academics!
I hope UCB takes a good look at other Universities that have lost their academic souls to the rampant commercialization and exploitation of NCAA FBS (1A). I don’t think most people realize how bad the situation has become. I graduated from Cal and am now working at an SEC school. Everyday I see how much NCAA FBS athletics hurts the academic side of the University. Every academic department budget is being cut and student tuition has been raised twice in the last year. We’re looking at over $100 million in budget shortfall and into this climate our athletic department is handing out $500,000 in raises to some of the most “highly compensated football coaching staff in the nation.” Every dollar that goes into the athletic department is spent on athletics. The University, far from being financially benefited by the athletic program, actively subsidizes the athletic operational budget and allows them to take $5.2 million in student fees. The type of students who are attracted to a school based solely on the sports teams are children who are not ready for the hard work and time it takes to obtain a meaningful college education. The obvious decay of higher education is glaringly apparent as students use their 4 years as a state-subsidized period of unrestrained partying. There is a general air of resigned despair here as professors mostly wait out their time to retirement because the majority of the students, administration, and trustees have shown that they do not believe in their own academic programs. The only student athletes worth having are the ones who value the academic goals of the University of their choosing. If Cal doesn’t change its policies, it’s only a matter of time before student athletes who genuinely want to be Cal Bears are crowded out by imported athletes who don’t care where they are going as long as they can play their game. It is exactly these kinds of athletes who are so prevalent in high profile sports like football and basketball in NCAA FBS schools. UC Berkeley has lost sight of what’s really important if it chooses to chase ephemeral athletic glory. I hope the professors there continue to fight.
I attended Cal in the mid-late ’60’s, a time when athletics took a back seat to the events of the time. Cal’s football team was routinely poor. Still, mixed in with my classes and my recollections of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, Peoples’ Park, and other issues too numerous to mention, I must confess I still remember the days in Memorial Stadium, at basketball games (you had to camp out overnight to get tickets when UCLA played Cal…), and at gymnastics meets (we were always a national contender there). Interestingly, my high school had an outstanding sports program, football games were a major event there and we had an outstanding gymnastics program; I suspect I gravitated to Cal’s games partially by habit (I still rarely miss a televised Cal football game — after all, who knows when we revise the Stanford Band lateral play…). In contrast, my son’s high school is an Academy program which offers all sports except football (and it does not offer cheerleading either). When it came time to pick colleges, my son (a four year varsity soccer letterman and starter — not a sports snob) couldn’t have cared less about whether or not his favored colleges fielded an NCAA football team, much less about how competitive that team was. But that’s one facet of why Cal (and UCLA, for that matter) differs from, say, UCSD and UCSB, two other high-ranked UC’s; it offers a different campus experience. I think that in times of budgetary woes, it’s easy to look for scapegoats, and NCAA athletics seem to frequently top the list. I, for one, hope it will be possible for Cal to continue to aim for that “comprehensive excellence”; while it’s a good thing that stories such as the tear-gassing of Wurster Hall during an architecture design lab are past-tense, I’d prefer for Cal’s atheltic history to continue well into the future!
What I valued when I was at Cal and the only reason I still contribute financially to Berkeley is to help maintain the diverse academic opportunities it offers. I strongly resent the fact that I have to subsidize spectator sports - via my tax dollars. I have seriously considered not donating at all given the funding priorities the University seems to have.
I had a great time reading around your post as I read it extensively. Excellent writing! I am looking forward to hearing more from you.
I admire writer that wrote remarkable articles that are really useful to the readers and bloggers like me for you teaches many lessons and provide endless useful information. Hope to read more from you guys and Thanks a lot for the post! I look forward for your next post.
Great Universities across the nation have great athletic programs. No question, top athletic programs promote top donor contributions. How many professors realize that over 50% of the buildings they utilize to teach in were paid for by private donations to the University. Not from taxes or the State Budget. I would like to compare the level of donations from people who have no interest in athletics and those who have played for, or just rooted for, their intercollegiate teams. And for the professor who stated “the best person to teach his class cannot teach for the lack of $7500.00”; what good is he if his TA is a better teacher than himself? And then we need to evaluate “faculty fat”. How many true hours are you putting into teaching your discipline, and how many hours into your publications? How much in donations does that produce? One positive everyone seems to have over looked is the advertising power of a successful collegiate athletic program. That in itself is priceless. Seeing the CAL logo on television around the world is, once again, priceless. Excellence in athletics draws attention to CAL at all levels. Outstanding students and student athletes attend CAL because of our combined excellence. Students around the world see our athletes and hear about CAL, and then they look into what is offered at Berkeley, and many decide to attend the Greatest University in the World. Academics and Athletics are GREATat CAL. GO BEARS !
It is a little odd that professors who never assign readings of Homer or Virgil in their classes (and would not tolerate a campus administration threatening the existence of their departments for not doing so) should approvingly cite Upton Sinclair’s tendentious remark about what is viewed as a “classic” in this part of the world. Still, as someone who finds many aspects of the ancient world worthy of study, I must point out that the ancient Greeks had a conception of education, paideia, that incorporated serious athletic competition as an integral component. They would have no problem with an educational institution striving for comprehensive excellence.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? as it is extremely helpful for me. Torah B.
I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? as it is extremely helpful for me.
I agree with Sandy that intercollegiate athletics are a PART of the university. I was never good enough athletically to represent the university in a sport, but I could at least feel like I was a part of something bigger by supporting the teams
nice site keep it up good work
nice work keep it up good luck
No question, top athletic programs promote top donor contributions. How many professors realize that over 50% of the buildings they utilize to teach in were paid for by private donations to the University. Not from taxes or the State Budget. I would like to compare the level of donations from people who have no interest in athletics and those who have played for, or just rooted for, their intercollegiate teams. And for the professor who stated “the best person to teach his class cannot teach for the lack of $7500.00”; what good is he if his TA is a better teacher than himself? And then we need to evaluate “faculty fat”
The work itself is already rewarding. I am sure they will have more to employ later. Good luck for the team…
Interesting , cant wait the next article .
would donate anywhere near as much to Cal if it were not for the sports programs. Even after nearly two decades since my graduation, I still go to campus for sporting events. I’m starting to attend women’s basketball and rugby matches
I am willing to pay for and support as a Berkeley alumnus is not intercollegiate athletics. Comprehensive excellence for a university is a joke unless it refers to academic excellence and truly benefits its students
What I value and what I am willing to pay for and support as a Berkeley alumnus is NOT intercollegiate athletics. Comprehensive excellence for a university is a joke unless it refers to academic excellence and truly benefits its students, faculty members, and the wider community. Athletics programs that benefit all students are important for their physical and emotional health. As a student, I appreciated the opportunity to use a beautiful swimming pool and take classes in modern dance. I had no interest as a student and have none now in intercollegiate programs that benefit a tiny number of individuals and have no relevance to a university’s mission. I support the clear-sightedness and integrity of the faculty members who recognize that this is the right moment for Berkeley to rid itself of intercollegiate sports programs that are economically parasitic on the university in both good times and bad.
I strongly resent the fact that I have to subsidize spectator sports - via my tax dollars. I have seriously considered not donating at all given the funding priorities
remember very few of my professors and even less of the courses I took at Cal. I do remember the fun I had watching Jason Kidd take Cal to a Sweet 16 and a first date I had with someone special at a football game in Memorial. I agree with Sandy that intercollegiate athletics are a PART of the university. I was never good enough athletically to represent the university in a sport, but I could at least feel like I was a part of something bigger by supporting the teams
You will hear from those who oppose it, but be assured there are many alumni who will support you. To current students, I say don’t waste your time marching
It is sad that Cal is no better than the elected officials who seem to be running our state into the ground. Sports as well as the academics is very important to the college scene and anyone that thinks different really never played sports while they were attending college
faculty members who recognize that this is the right moment for Berkeley to rid itself of intercollegiate sports programs that are economically parasitic on the university in both good times and bad.
Sports as well as the academics is very important to the college scene and anyone that thinks different really never played sports while they were attending college. It is all about academics!
had no interest as a student and have none now in intercollegiate programs that benefit a tiny number of individuals and have no relevance to a university’s mission.

Add new comment