Saturday, February 12, 2011

What A Mess! Cal Administrators Mislead Fund Raising Group.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle by John Crumpacker and Jake Curtis ran this morning and I think they missed an important point in the article concerning the fundraising efforts of Cal Baseball and the other sports...

First, let me start by saying that the effort to save the 5 sports was initiated by the Save Cal Baseball group, headed up by Doug Nickle...An excerpt from their web site states...

Cal Baseball Foundation, in conjunction with Men’s Rugby, Women’s Lacrosse, and Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics, have been given the directive by Chancellor Birgeneau to develop a sustainable financial plan to support the reinstatement of all five programs and to return the Cal Athletic Program to a strong financial footing, in full compliance with Title IX. This path is consistent with the path proposed by the Chancellor’s Committee: “Establish a four-year time frame for the Athletic Department to reach a goal of no more than a $5 million annual draw on campus funds by FY2014.”

Our coordinated plan is as follows, based on a cost estimate of $3.1 million per year for the five programs:

Raise $12.4 million to reinstate all 5 programs ($3.1 million/year for a period of 4 years):

$10 million in pledges by January 1, 2011

$2.4 million in pledges by January 1, 2012

Therefore, they went into this with the notion that this fund raising effort was an all or nothing effort... Doug and his group left nothing to chance...They created a web site...were in contact with the news media...and kept Cal officials informed...All information and the efforts of this group was held out there for all the public to see...including Cal officials...Nickles Groups entire game plan is spelled out on the web site

Now, here's my disconnect.....If Cal officials were honest about their willingness to work things out, which it seems they were not, they would have openly acknowledged this effort. And, more important, if it was not in step with what the university was looking for, they should have called or contacted the organizers and set them in the right direction.

Instead, Cal officials chose to take the sleazy road and without warning or a workable solution to help them along. They then decided to catch them off-guard by changing the rules of the game...This is now the second time they surprised all baseball officials involved (the first being September 28th) after a public announcement was made to kill the baseball program.

According to Nickle..."Cal Baseball has been scapegoated in this process. We’ve been told that we did not contribute enough to prove that Cal Baseball is a sustainable program. Save Cal Baseball has worked tirelessly on behalf of all 5 affected programs. While we know that Save Cal Baseball led the way in the Save Cal Sports effort, the University has turned it’s back on our efforts and is now shielding themselves behind the long-term implications of Title IX.

Sandy Barbour stated, "Rather than take an all or nothing approach, we worked in concert with the donors and were able to reinstate three teams that could be self supporting".

In addition to that statement being contrary to the very public efforts of the all or nothing approach...IT'S A TOTAL LIE!!! They did nothing to raise this money...NOTHING!!!!. All they did was count it and erroneously divided it up conveniently tied to each sport they felt the donors heart was tied to...The fact is, many of these donations were for all 5 programs and not specifically tied to one sport.

Remember, the entire effort was spearheaded by a very unselfish Save Cal Baseball group...It was their intention to save all five sports and that's how they sold it.

If you were a donor..and a group called Save Cal Baseball contacted you...wouldn't you assume that a portion of that money would also go to baseball???

According to Nickle, "Instead of working with us, the University has decided to move forward without us. The University today stated that Cal Baseball needed to have raised $10 million dollars for baseball to have been reinstated. Why didn’t they communicate this to us before today? Why now would they finally give us a target, only after they’ve made their second wrong decision? If they had, Cal Baseball could have worked unilaterally and raised enough money to bring baseball back. But the University was not truthful with us and they changed the rules throughout this process. We did the right thing in working for all five sports. The University failed us."

Yes, they did fail not only the storied Cal baseball program, but the integrity of Cal sports in general. If I was a recruit in any sport, I wouldn't trust this athletic department...As a parent, I would never send my kid to this school. They have proven that they can't be trusted.

ONE MORE THING...According to ESPN "Birgeneau said he did not believe the announcement in September was premature, even though three of the programs were eventually retained. He said he sent a message to athletic department supporters 16 months ago that the cuts might be necessary and little was done to retain them until the announcement was made. "My message engendered virtually no response for an entire year," he said. "The responses only came after the announcement of the cutting of sports. These sports had a full year to raise funds. But until the actual reality of no longer continuing the varsity sports was on the table, it was not until then that we got this wonderful response that we got now."


If in fact this message was sent to athletic department supporters...that would mean that the possibility of the programs being cut was available prior to the National Letter of Intent signing dates of this years freshman athletes in baseball and men's gymnastics...Cal administrators would have then been obligated to disclose this information to top recruits prior to signing their NLI's in the early signing period in November of 2009 and the regular signing periods that occur in February 2010 through the summer. It has been stated by Mr. Birgeneau that this information had been passed on 16 months ago...Therefore, it should have been communicated to the recruits that the elimination of these sports may have been a possibility.

This was not done and athletes and recruits were misled by the University. If I was a parent of a freshman athlete, I would be joining forces with every Gymnastics and Baseball family and would take the steps of filing a class action lawsuit against the university.

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