Cal Drops Women's NCAA Lacrosse

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Cal Drops Women's NCAA Lacrosse

Postby picknroll » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:53 pm

Sad day. Cal is dropping women's lacrosse as an NCAA sport. Here's the letter from the Chancellor.

Dear Cal Supporters,

Of the many communications which we are sending out today regarding our plan for Cal Athletics’ future, this letter, to our loyal fans and alumni, is among the most difficult. Your passion for and belief in the Cal Athletics program are not and never will be taken for granted: we have to earn it every day. Although we know that our decisions will be cause for concern and difficult for a number of you, we are confident that we have worked out a plan that will guarantee the preeminence of Intercollegiate Athletics at Berkeley while simultaneously helping address the serious financial challenges that our campus is facing.

We have made a set of decisions that will meet our goal to have a sustainable, financially responsible program that will remain broad based and fully capable of continuing to support our commitment to excellence in the university’s every endeavor. We are committed to maintaining the indispensable role that Athletics plays as a vehicle for community building and an engine of philanthropy for the whole campus.

The status quo is simply unsustainable. Given the economic environment, the campus cannot continue to provide Cal Athletics with recent levels of annual financial support that exceeded $12 million during the last fiscal year. After an exhaustive consideration of every reasonable option, it became clear to us that the only credible way to balance our twin objectives of financial sustainability and continued excellence is through a reduction in the program’s scope, along with new steps to contain costs and increase revenues. At the end of this academic year, baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse will no longer represent the university in varsity intercollegiate competition. In addition one team, rugby, will be transitioned to a newly created varsity club status. The team’s history indicates that this change should not affect its competitive opportunities or abilities, and the varsity club status will allow us to maintain rugby’s unsurpassed excellence with continued campus support in terms of admissions, sports medicine and access to training facilities. Rugby was a club sport at Cal from the 1950’s to the early 1990’s, and is today the only remaining varsity team in Division 1 of the NCAA.

We will do everything in our power to help student-athletes, coaches and staff successfully manage the challenges of this transition. We will honor scholarship commitments for all student-athletes who choose to remain at Berkeley, and assist those who may wish to explore the possibility of continuing to compete at another institution.

Together, these steps will save an estimated $4 million in direct and indirect costs beginning in the next fiscal year and bring down institutional support to a level that we can sustain. Factoring in reasonable estimates of increased revenues, including funds we expect to receive from a new Pac-12 media contract, annual institutional support for Athletics will be reduced to approximately $5 million a year by FY 2014. We anticipate that this support will represent about one-half of the cost of athletics scholarships at that time and recognizes that our intercollegiate athletes are students first and athletes second.

We will retain, at 24 teams, one of the larger programs in the country at an annual cost that is consistent with the level of support provided to athletics by our peer institutions. This country’s best universities have long understood the value of high-quality athletics programs and the extent to which they are an integral part of what defines institutional character and identity. To ensure this tradition continues at Cal, we will protect and preserve the essential attributes that distinguish our program: a rare combination of competitive excellence, academic achievement and broad-based engagement with the campus and neighboring communities.

We examined three possible options for Cal Athletics’ future that would allow us to maintain the campus support to Intercollegiate Athletics at approximately $5 million annually, after taking into account our obligations to gender equity, plans to increase revenue and aggressive steps that we will take to contain costs.

The first option entailed extensive cuts across the board that would have damaged the competitive abilities of every single team and provided sub-standard support for our student-athletes. The second option would have called for a larger reduction in the number of teams – a completely unsatisfactory alternative given our conviction that the campus greatly benefits from a broad based program. The third and best option, the middle ground, is the one that we selected: a hybrid strategy that combines a moderate reduction in scope; limiting operational costs; and targeted investment and operational changes that will enhance philanthropy and other new and existing sources of revenue.

We came to these conclusions very reluctantly, and the decisions were as painful as they were unavoidable. We realize that this plan will not please everyone; some will say that we have gone too far, other will insist that it is not far enough. Many on the Chancellor’s Advisory Council were opposed to any reduction in teams, and some on the Academic Senate Task Force advocated for even lower or non-existent institutional support, in contrast to the situation at virtually all of our peer institutions.

Decisions of this nature are complex, multifaceted and always difficult. As an institution we looked at a myriad of criteria once it became clear that we could no longer support 29 teams. Factors such as net cost, donor impact, maximizing student opportunity, existence of national/regional varsity competition, contribution to diversity, impact on our ability to comply with Title IX, opportunity for NCAA and Pac 10 success, utilization of support services and history of competitive excellence were among the factors considered. The broad excellence of our program made the decisions all the more difficult. Virtually every intercollegiate program at Cal has a rich tradition of competitive success and a community of fervent backers who surround and support the team. Our decisions mark the end of this process and, hopefully, will reduce the uncertainty and anxiety in our community.

We hope that you will take the time to read through the details of the plan in the online FAQ. You will find that while financial issues were at the heart of our analysis, they could not be addressed in isolation or solely on a team-by-team basis. Addressing the funding needs of any particular team through additional philanthropy would have only pushed the problem onto another squad due to our obligation to comply with Title IX and to ensure that, going forward, Athletics has the capacity to support and service excellence among our student athletes.

We hope that this outcome will have your broad support. With a new, strong financial foundation, the Athletics program will be better positioned to provide support for the members of its community. In some key areas, Athletics has been stretched thin in terms of human resources and services that exist to support our student-athletes. For example, on a per student-athlete basis, we are currently at or near the bottom of the Pac-10 in terms of sports medicine and strength training resources. Once this plan is implemented, we will be in the upper half of the conference in terms of our ability to provide all that our student athletes need to succeed and excel on and off the field.

We deeply regret the human toll that these decisions will take and the impact that they will have on valued members of our community who were in no way responsible for the challenges that we face. We also hope and believe that the entire Cal Athletics family will pull together in support of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Their long-standing and well-known passion, commitment and determination to overcome adversity demand our respect and reciprocity.


Robert J. Birgeneau

Sandy Barbour
Director of Athletics
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Re: Cal Drops Women's NCAA Lacrosse

Postby picknroll » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:18 pm

Sherry Questions Cal's Choice to Ax Women's Lacrosse, Cites Use of Funds
by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Cal women's lacrosse coach Theresa Sherry says there should have been more transparency in the university decision to cut her program and five others in 2011-12.

Cal women's lacrosse coach Theresa Sherry spoke out Wednesday against the university and called for more transparency in the wake of its announcement that her program would be among five sports eliminated due to budgetary concerns.

Sherry, a fourth-year head coach, questioned the decisions made by university chancellor Robert Birgeneau and athletic director Sandy Barbour, while citing that $50,000 in fundraising had already been taken from the women's lacrosse budget and earmarked for the 2011-2012 academic year.

"What happened to that?" Sherry said. "The thing is, I actually agree that cutting sports probably was called for, but I just don't understand why women's lacrosse was one of the ones that was cut. We've been asking for the numbers [that determined which five sports would be cut]. We want to see the breakdown. If they've been looking at it for the last 13 months, why wasn't it provided? There should be some transparency here."

Sherry said she has sought legal counsel regarding the use of lacrosse funds and the criteria used to cut athletic programs.

"I'm trying to get some advice," she said. "There's a lot of things wrong and I don't appreciate the way that we've been treated."

Dan Mogolov, the university's executive director of public affairs, said Thursday he had no knowledge of any pending legal action stemming from Tuesday's announcement. Men's gymnastics, women's gymnastics, baseball and rugby were the other sports eliminated in the university's effort to cut $5 million from its athletics budget by 2014.

“Everyone deeply regrets the human toll these decisions will make,” Birgeneau said in a press conference Tuesday.

Said Barbour: "Cal athletics is not immune to the effects of the recession and the financial realities facing this campus... I have been very loud and very frequent in expressing my thoughts on intercollegiate athletics from a financial standpoint. All of intercollegiate athletics needs to take a very, very hard look at what we’re spending and why."

Birgeneau added that cost was not the only criteria for cutting teams. He cited the existence of national and regional varsity competition, Title IX, diversity concerns, NCAA and Pac 10 success, and a history of competitive excellence as contributing factors in the decision towards which teams were eliminated.

Cal women's lacrosse, entering its 12th year as a varsity program, has been a cornerstone for the growth of the sport on the West Coast.

"Cal has a long tradition of a strong women's lacrosse program and has many ties to our local community," said Heidi Faith, director of the Northern California Chapter of US Lacrosse. "To have one of the most emerging sports in California and the West cut from varsity status is unbelievable."

The Bears are scheduled to scrimmage Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday. Cardinal coach Amy Bokker has attempted to rally the local lacrosse community for turnout in support of Cal's cause.

As of Wednesday, Sherry said the Bears planned to play out their 2011 campaign. Players have the option of preserving their eligibility. The school will honor all existing scholarships and will aid students who wish to transfer to other institutions. Student-athletes who transfer due to program elimination do not have to sit out a year.

"I think that we're going to field a team for 2011 because even if the freshmen want to transfer, they just need to be seen," Sherry said. "A lot of them weren't seen in the recruiting process. I think that the underclassmen also have already established a really tight bond with the upperclassmen. I think it's really hard for any of us to feel like we want to do anything with Cal on our jerseys. But it would be for lacrosse, and for each other."
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Re: Cal Drops Women's NCAA Lacrosse

Postby MDIALG » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:49 pm

To be honest my question is why did Cal keep Womens Field Hockey and not Womens Lacrosse?

In looking at MaxPreps, which may not be the best site to use as a reference but Womens Field Hockey has a total of 31 Teams in Northern California (Central Coast section) and 7 listed teams in Southern California (San Diego Section). On the other hand, for Lacrosse, the Central Coast Section has 21 teams, Los Angeles City has 5 teams, the North Coast and Northern Sections have 35 total teams, Sac-Joaquin has 7 teams, San Diego has 39 teams, and last, the Southern Section has 50 teams.

So if I sum everything up in California, I see approximately 38 Women's High School Field Hockey Teams and 157 Women's Lacrosse Teams. So I continue to ask why was Lacrosse cut not Field Hockey at Cal when in California there are four times the number of High Schools. As a taxpayer I would much prefer to fund Lacrosse at Cal than Field Hockey as I see more opportunities in a sport that is better supported by the high schools in California. It is a shame that Cal is making such a short sighted decision which will truly be felt for years to come in the growing West Coast Lacrosse Community.

On the Laxpower site, some have said that one consideration that Field Hockey had over Lacrosse was that they are/were a Nationally competitive team. Perhaps that is the case, however, with only 38 high schools playing Field Hockey is this a truly a major sport in California that should be supported by our Tax Dollars? And if that is the case shame on the administration, as Cal is a state supported school and they should be supporting and providing opportunities to the young ladies of California.
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Field Hockey vs. Lacrosse

Postby Coach Jen » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:22 pm

Field Hockey is not a growing sport. Lacrosse is. It's as simple as that. The whole idea of dropping the Cal program is horrible... especially in the face of the effort put forth by Coach Theresa Sherry. Her willingness to recruit Bay Area players, when hardly anyone else was even looking has been very motivating to countless girls in this area.

Coach Sherry will likely leave the area after the backhanded way she was treated, on to bigger and better things. Unless she can be content to just run her club, which would be best for the girls in the area. But likely some other college who needs such a generator will make her a great offer.

It's a shame for the sport, and a shame to so many players in this area.

Field HOCKEY? For real? I played that too, and it's honestly fun... until you play lacrosse.
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