Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is Cal cutting?

Maybe, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article based largely on a report produced by the Chancellor's Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics at Berkeley. Cal athletics has been incurring a $10 million deficit (i.e. they spend $10 million more than they make) and that deficit has been covered by the Chancellor's discretionary fund. But given the dire economic straits the state of California has found itself in, such a deficit just isn't acceptable. One of the suggestions for dealing with it? Cutting 5-7 sports. Cal carries 27 varsity sports (second in the PAC-10, to Stanford; and second in all US public institutions). Still 5-7 sports all at once is fairly shocking. Football, men's and women's basketball, and women's volleyball are all sports required for membership in the Pac-10 so they are safe. According to the report, the decision on which sports will be eliminated is going to be based on both competitive and academic success.
And, of course, Title IX will be considered as well, as the article notes towards the end.
My initial, quick glance at the EADA data told me that Cal does not use proportionality to demonstrate compliance with accommodation of interests and abilities. That I could discern this from such a quick glance is not good. I don't know if Cal is adhering to prong two or three at this point, but when/if they cut sports, proportionality will be their only option.
Here is the way things break down right now (the EADA data is from the 2008-09 academic year): women comprise 53 percent of the undergraduate study body; they receive 385 of the 948 total opportunities in athletics. That is just under 41 percent.
I don't envy Cal administrators the task in front of them.