Cal Bears Back After 2010 Death Sentence

David Esquer Cal celebrates 2011 CWS qualifyBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

BERKELEY, Calif. — One of the most amazing stories in college baseball history is unfolding at the University of California.

In September of 2010, administrators announced their intention to eliminate baseball and three other teams. It was a shocking announcement since the baseball program was the oldest athletics program at the school with a proud 119-year history through the 2010 season.

The baseball program had won two national titles, including the first College World Series in 1947 and another in 1957 and had appeared in the CWS five times heading into the 2011 season. A big factor in the decision to do away with Cal baseball was Title IX.

Several months after the announcement, administrators backtracked in mid-February of 2011 as they announced that men’s rugby, women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics would be allowed to continue but baseball and men’s gymnastics would still be eliminated at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. It was another body blow to the baseball program.

Just prior to the announcement by Cal administrators, a report in the New York Times said that if they went through with their original plan to cut four sports and demote rugby to varsity club status, it would cause a compliance issue with the federal gender equity law and force further cuts to men’s roster spots.

The article said that administrators would be forced to cut 80 men from remaining teams and add 50 women to come into line with Title IX.

The baseball program seemed to be on death row.

What happened next was historic in the annuals of college sports. California baseball boosters came to the rescue of the baseball program, raising $10 million in two months which allowed the program to be rescued from the chopping block.

At the current time, this money is being utilized to finance the baseball program at California as a fully funded NCAA Division I varsity sport.

The Cal Baseball Foundation was established to make this happen. This remarkable group of people headed by Stu Gordon (pitcher on the Cal. 1960-61 teams) and Dan McInerny (member of the Cal 1980 CWS team) are now trying to raise $25 million for a permanent baseball program endowment so it can operate off the interest forever.

This bold plan has never been done in college athletics’ history for a varsity sport on the NCAA Division I level, according to several long time administrators Collegiate Baseball contacted.

To read more about how California rebounded from having its program cut and how painful it was losing two recruiting classes, purchase the May 15, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE. The in-depth story of what Head Coach David Esquer endured, how the program fell on hard times for a few years, and how dynamic boosters formed the Cal Baseball Foundation to enrich the program with operating capital is all covered. In addition, it explains how the program came back to being a powerhouse once again in 2015.