With recurring budget cuts occurring throughout California, the athletic department at U. California-Berkeley has also been faced with unfortunate financial drawbacks. Due to the possibility of the Chancellor cutting large chunks of money out of the athletic department, some sports may be dropped.
Even though the men’s gymnastics program meets the majority of certain criteria set by the athletic department, there are a few key factors that make the Men’s Gymnastics Program a very good target for being dropped. As a member and co-captain of the Cal Men’s Gymnastics team, this news is very devastating.
The program throughout the history of Cal Athletics has met and even superceded the criteria determined by the athletic department, by far. The Cal Men’s Gymnastics program has had throughout the years 29 NCAA Event Champions (14 of which are from the last 20 years), 195 Individual Top-10 NCAA individual finishes, 18 top-5 NCAA Team finishes, countless All-American Awards, and, to top it all off, 4 NCAA team championship titles. Surely, this array of athletic achievements should speak for itself when determining which sports should be considered to be dropped.
One of the main factors keeping us from being in the clear, however, is Title IX. Although I’m unclear about the specifics of Title IX, I do know that it deals with allocating equal amounts of funding to both the men and the women, while maintaining approximately equal men/ratios in collegiate athletics. The good news is that the budget of the Men’s Gymnastics program is so minute that it will barely put a dent in the millions of dollars that may be cut. The sad news, on the other hand, is that if there is more than one sport being dropped, Men’s Gymnastics is a good “adjuster,” so to speak, in maintaining the ratios of men and women due to Title IX.
Thus, in an effort prevent the program being dropped, the team, alumni, and coaches of Men’s Gymnastics have started to raise awareness throughout the gymnastics community and, hopefully, to the people who care about athletics at Cal. If you go to the website www.calgymnasticsforever.com, there is plenty of information found on the website that will tell you how you can help.
Essentially, there are two efforts we are trying to accomplish. The first effort is creating a pledge fund that may influence the decision of the Chancellor and the Athletic Director.
The second, more important, effort is to collect as many letters as possible directed to the Chancellor and Athletic Director stating the significance of the Cal Men’s Gymnastics Program. Fortunately, the latter effort, through email and a small amount of time, is free and encouraged to Cal Students and faculty. Again, if you go to www.calgymnasticsforever.com, all necessary information can be found there.
It’s important to note that no decision has been made yet to determine whether or not sports will be dropped in the first place. However, with the potential financial cuts the athletic department may be facing, the Men’s Gymnastics program wants and needs to do everything possible to develop a sense of urgency in the Cal community to save the sport of gymnastics.
With a large effort from the gymnastics and Cal communities, I’m sure that the success of Cal Men’s Gymnastics will continue to thrive and that a young boy beginning a gymnastics class will be able to say, “I want to be on Cal’s gymnastics team.”