UC Berkeley cuts sports: baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse

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Baseball might be America’s national pastime, but it’s not UC Berkeley’s.

The university on Tuesday eliminated the sport and demoted the most successful team in school history, men’s rugby, in moves designed to reduce the athletic department’s bloated budget by $4 million and keep Cal in compliance with Title IX gender equity requirements.

Also cut were men’s and women’s gymnastics, and lacrosse, a sport only offered to women at Cal. The changes are effective in the 2011-12 academic year.

Cal’s revered men’s rugby program, winner of 25 national championships since 1980 and like baseball more than a century old, was reassigned to the newly created category of “varsity club,” a status yet to be fully explained. Campus facilities and sports medicine services will be available to the team.

“Everyone deeply regrets the human toll these decisions take,” Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said in an afternoon news conference. “The cutting of teams is over. This is it. (It) will result in a sustainable, financially responsible” department.

Full story: Cal cuts sports: baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse