Friday, February 11, 2011

Cal saving three sports

The University of California Berkeley announced yesterday that, due largely to fundraising efforts, it will reinstate three of the varsity sports it had been planning to cut. Men's rugby, women's lacrosse and women's gymnastics are back on the school's intercollegiate roster. Men's baseball and men's gymnastics, however, apparently did not meet the necessary requirements for fundraising and will no longer exist as varsity sports next year.
So it appears they are indeed trying to unring the bell. How successful this move is remains to be seen. When the NYT picks up a story and runs the numbers (months and months after some of us noticed the discrepancy... but better late than never), people pay attention. And so Cal remains on the spot having to answer to athletes, alums, the anti-IXers, and the media. And to advocates as well. I still wonder how it is that Cal can claim that when the initial decision to cut five sports was made last fall that the Title IX ramifications were factored into the discussion.
So here are the new numbers based on the three sports being saved as based on EADA data. Men have 524 opportunities. Women have 388. That bumps up the percentage of female athletic opportunities to 42%. While Cal is still planning on adding roster spots to current women's teams and reducing roster sizes on the men's side, I don't know how they can make up such a disparity doing that. In other words, it does not seem like prong one compliance is an immediate option. And it is hard to tell if adding those roster spots will constitute prong two compliance. It's possible. And given that the women's rugby team asked to be elevated to varsity status, it also looks like prong three is not an option.
In short, until Cal reveals a specific plan, they remain on very shaky ground.