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Archive for February, 2011

Memorial Stadium milestone

On February 15th just before 6 PM PST, the first section of the historic stadium had been destroyed so that the exterior wall was visible on both sides:
Memorial Stadium milestone

In the week since then, the vast majority of the western wall has been exposed:
Rest of the wall

(Note, click on the picture for full res pictures)

Nice to see progress being made!

More on sport saving fundraising

I saw this tidbit in a new SFGate article:

According to the university, rugby raised about $6 million, baseball $1.5 million to $2.5 million, lacrosse $400,000 to $500,000, and gymnastics less than $1 million, with the remainder not earmarked for any particular sport.

There’s been an open question until now about whether the saved women’s sports had raised enough. Up until now we had numbers for rugby ($6m) and baseball ($1.5m-$2.5m) and the total ($12m-$13m), which left a big gap, approximately 3 to 6 million. If the two saved women’s sports had raised the majority of that money, one could easily say they had “saved themselves” through their fund raising.

Personally, I had suspected this wasn’t the case, but until now I didn’t have published numbers to support this. Now I do. The women’s sports looks to have raised about a million total (I’m assuming the women’s gymnastics raised half (or perhaps a bit more) of the total gymnastics funds).

There’s no need to re-iterate my earlier points, I just wanted to make sure that it was clear that the numbers had been verified and that the women’s sports were spared not because of their fund raising, but because of Title IX.

Finalized schedule

This is not official, but it’s officially the worst kept secret in Berkeley (now that coach M is officially the offensive line coach and OC)… Cal has scheduled FCS’s Presbyterian College, from South Carolina. That, along with confirmation that the Colorado game will go forward as planned, even though they’re now in the Pac-12 and the game will officially be a non-conference game, rounds out the schedule:

Date Opponent Notes
9/3 Fresno State Neutral Site game @ Candlestick
9/10 @Colorado non-conference
9/17 Presbyterian FCS (i.e. I-AA)
9/24 @Washington REVENGE!?!
10/1 Bye
THURS 10/6 @Oregon ESPN @ 6:00 PM PDT
THURS 10/13 USC ESPN @ 6:00 PM PDT
10/22 Utah What is a Ute?
10/29 @UCLA
11/5 WSU
11/12 Oregon State
11/19 @Stanford Get back the Ax!
11/26 @ASU Uh-oh, post Big Game road games are trouble!

3 sports spared – explanation is deceptive

The Chronicle is reporting that 3 of the 5 sports have been saved: Rugby, Women’s Lacrosse, and Women’s Gymnastics.

The answer for why Baseball and Men’s Gymnastics didn’t get spared is because they didn’t raise enough money. Which is true, I guess. It appears baseball only raised $1 million (update, it appears it was $2 million) and gymnastics didn’t raise nearly that. That’s not enough to save them.

What’s deceptive in that explanation is that it’s not why the two women’s sports were saved. I guarantee you neither the women’s lacrosse team nor the women’s gymnastics team raised $1 million. It appears that well over half the money was raised by the rugby team, with baseball coming in 2nd and then a couple million of general donations to save all 5.

What I’m saying is that if it was just about the money, rugby and baseball would have been saved and that’s it.

No, it’s pretty clear that the two women’s sports were saved because cutting any women’s sport, irrelevant of whether men’s sports are being cut at disproportionally higher numbers, you’re going to run afoul of Title IX. The university just couldn’t take the chance that they’d get sued.

Basically, the rugby team raised enough money to save itself by making sure the dollar figure was enough to save the two women’s sports as well and thus not running afoul of Title IX.

This is not right. It’s time for supporters of women’s athletics to pony up. You’re already HEAVILY subsidized by men’s football and basketball. That’s more than enough. You want to keep those sports, you pony up whatever additional dough is needed.

Jason spoke below in a comment about how we should mend Title IX instead of ending, and I agree in concept that there should be some protection of women’s sports. But Title IX is so far from where it should be that I think starting over is the right way to go.

Title IX should only apply to public funds. Of course, it should insist that the funds be split equitably. But that should be the end of it. All private schools (assuming no public funds) should be able to do what they please. All public schools should be able to do what they please with private donations, per donor’s instructions. You might get me on board that any ticket sale money that exceeds the costs of a program (and let’s not kid ourselves, that means men’s football and basketball) at a public school should be split equally between the other men’s and women’s sports, but in my mind, the scope should be limited to public funds and most definitely should not apply to private donations.

As for baseball being cut, while it’s very disappointing to me, times are tough and I don’t know that I can justify keeping it, knowing what it means to the rest of Cal, both athletically and academically. Here’s hoping that better times allow us to bring it back in the future (hopefully without running afoul of Title IX again).

Title IX garbage

The New York Times has an article up about the cuts of sports at Cal. In it, it states:

The elimination of two women’s teams — lacrosse and gymnastics — threw the Cal athletic department out of compliance with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX. Without the five teams, the university, based on numbers it provided, will have to add 50 spots for women and eliminate 80 spots for men to meet Title IX requirements.

The reason is that if you cut even ONE women’s sport, you’re now forced to match the men/women ratio of the athletic department to the ratio of the student body. If you don’t cut a women’s sport, you can use a couple of different methods that allow for some inequity.

This is absolutely ridiculous… Let me show you how. Cal cut 5 sports:

Men’s Rugby: 63 men
Men’s Baseball: 36 men
Men’s Gymnastics: 19 men
Women’s Gymnastics: 13 women
Women’s Lacrosse: 25 women

That’s 118 men cut and only 38 women cut for those who don’t want to do the simple arithmetic. And somehow doing this is a violation of not letting women participate in sports?

Or lets look at it a different way, like on a sport by sport basis. Cal already had one more women’s sport than men’s sport, 14-13. With the cuts it’ll be down to 12-10 in favor of the women, where the only men’s only sport is Football and women have Field-Hockey, Softball and Volleyball as women’s only sports.

This is an injustice. There’s no other way to say it.

By any basis besides equal participation, a crummy way to judge things if there ever was one (what do you do if no women want to participate? Men can’t do things just because women aren’t interested?), there’s no way to justify this sort of thing. Whether we’re judging by opportunities for participation, by dollars spent, by number of sports, the men are getting the shaft. They bring in effectively all the dollars and they don’t have all the sports that the women do (you don’t think there are men who would like to play Volleyball?).

As a quick aside, I suspect the way this is going to be resolved (since it’s clear, albeit in an unstated way, from the article that the wheels are in motion to sue the university) is that with the dollars raised, both women’s sports will be retained, as well as the baseball team. That will allow the University to avoid the wrath of the unfair and keep the sport that from all indications in the one doing all the fund-raising (baseball). (Sucks to be Men’s gymnastics)

But the pragmatics of how the university will avoid this mess aside, this is a travesty and an injustice.

Title IX must go!

Cal lands #17 recruiting class

It used to be that I didn’t care a lick about recruiting. Then I got a fun little job reporting on games for an organization that was mostly focused on recruiting (Rivals/ The more I learned, the more I realized just how important recruiting was. Make no mistake, the coaching and the game planing are very important, but if you don’t have the raw talent, teams like USC are just going to bowl you over. They’ll be bigger, faster and stronger and no amount of creative game planning will overcome their sound game plan built around the fact that they’re bigger, faster and stronger.

So that’s why it’s so important that Cal continues to bring in very good recruiting classes. Last year was awesome, with the #11 class and two 5-star players (OK, we lost one later). To follow it up with a #17, means that we’re going to have a very talented team in a couple years. (Remember that recruits don’t become the heart and soul of the program until they’re upper-class men and really don’t have much of an impact for at least a year.)

To re-enforce the point, wonder why 2008-2010 were such rough years… look no further than recruiting from 2007-2009:

2007: #22 in the country, 3rd in the conference*
2008: #34 in the country, 7th in the conference
2009: #42 in the country, 6th in the conference

(*Note that 2007 was based more on the number of recruits at 26 and less on star ranking, with only 5 4-stars)

Not all that great, particularly when you compare it to 2004-2006:

2004: #22 in the country, 4th in the conference*
2005: #9 in the country, 2nd in the conference
2006: #19 in the country, 4th in the conference*

(*Note the inverse of the previous one for 2004 and 2006, these were smaller classes with a high star-ranking that was 4th in the conference only because teams with big classes loaded up on lesser talent (UW in 2004, UCLA and Arizona in 2006))

Point being, it’s really good news to see us up in the recruiting rankings where we used to be back in the heart of the Tedford era, and to be there for 2 consecutive years.

Now for some specifics on this class:

There’s two things I look for in a good recruiting class, the number of highly talented players with good physical characteristics (do they have the frame to be a good O-line guy, etc.) and how balanced the class is. It doesn’t do any good to bring in 4 tight ends and no defensive guys. That lack of balance will hurt down the road.

Going further, the team is allowed to have 85 scholarship players. That works out to just under 4 complete teams (22 players (11 offense, 11 defense) x 4 is 88). Since, minus redshirting, you get a player for 4 years, it means that in a perfect world, your class should pretty well reflect a complete team. Let’s see how this team stacks up:

QB: 1 (Kyle Boehm)
RB: 4 (C.J. Anderson, Brendon Bigelow, Darren Ervin, Daniel Lasco)
OL: 2 (Jordan Rigsbee, Matt Williams)
TE: 1 (Richard Rodgers)
WR: 1 (Maurice Harris)

DL: 5 (Todd Barr, Puka Lopa, Brennan Scarlett, Mustafa Jalil, Viliami Moala)
LB: 3 (Jalen Jefferson, Nathan Broussard, Jason Gibson)
DB: 5 (Joel Willis, Kameron Jackson, Stefan McClure, Jordan Morgan, Avery Walls)

While it’s not perfect balance (last year was better) it’s pretty darned good. The two weak spots are WR, which isn’t as bad as it seems because there are a few guys (McClure, Ervin, Lasco) who Tedford mentioned might either play some or be moved to wide receiver, and OL, which if you ask me is the glaring weak-spot. The good news is the two we got look like monster recruits. Nevertheless, if we could substitute RB recruit or two into a OL recruit, it would definitely help the balance of the class.

Don’t under estimate the value of the large set of recruits at DB and RB though… those are two spots where we’ve lost a lot of talent to graduation and they cupboard needed to be refilled, particularly at RB where injuries have really hurt. It would be awesome if Bigelow or Ervin could make the sort of instant impact that Best or Lynch made their true-freshman years.

As for individual guys that just wow, top of the list is Moala, who is a 5-star over on Scout (as a quick aside, I always use Rivals rankings… it’s a loyalty thing) even though he’s a 4-star on Rivals. He’s a monster guy and ready to play nose guard right away at 326 lbs and supposedly is going to be able to walk into the weight room in August and instantly set the bench press record for Cal at 490.

Stefan McClure is another one that jumps out, being very versatile, being one of those rare talents who can both be a smothering corner and tackle like a linebacker (while Tedford compared another recruit to Syd’Quan Thompson, this guy’s tackling skills make me think he’s more like Syd).

The other two defenders who really stand out to me are Jason Gibson and Brennan Scarlett, both because of their versatility. Tedford called Scarlett a predator like Kendricks, yet he’s a defensive end who can rush hard from the outside, despite the fact that he’s being compared to a linebacker. Gibson is just the opposite, a linebacker who played a lot of DE in high school and his film looks great. The way Pendergast likes to mix things up, these will be two guys who will allow for more complex blitz and coverage packages that will keep the opposing QB’s guessing.

Moving to offense, the odd-ball of the group of standouts is quarterback Kyle Boehm. He’s ranked as the #7 QB in the country but is only a 3-star, having lost a star over the winter. It’s really odd and perhaps because he was doing a lot of running as a QB in his senior season. But his video looks really good throwing the ball. Tedford had lots of good things to say about him.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the two offensive line recruits look like monsters. Matt Williams is enrolling early and is a JC transfer (it’s pretty rare JC guy’s get a 4-star ranking). He’s 6-7 and 285 and just looks like someone who could add 50, heck even 75 lbs of muscle and still be limber and fast with the size of his frame. Jordan Rigsbee is no slouch himself ranked the #9 guard in the country out of high school and at 6’4″ 275 should be only a year away from being ready to play.

As you can see, there’s a lot to be excited about. Lot’s of talent that’s eye-poppingly good and pretty good balance. Where there wasn’t balance, it was because Tedford was after some new-found depth at defensive back and running back. While the O-Line shortage is probably the most disconcerting, the two guys we got look awesome. Overall it looks really, really, good.

Go Bears!