Posted on 13 June 2010 by admin
We’ve been hearing rumblings about the possible demise of the Cal Men’s Gymnastics program. Even the women’s program is also presumedly on the chopping block. In light of all the budget cuts and the state’s overall fiscal degradation, both programs’ subsidization is ruffling the tender feathers of the more militant, sports-averse members of the school’s faculty. Apparently Cal’s athletic department racked up a $1.7 million deficit this past year and received a loan from the school’s general fund. We’ve heard that the guillotine is poised over five men’s sports programs right now, making us wonder why men’s sports are being singled out. If only it were Title IX’s ugly head on the block.
Adding to the alarm was discovering Coach Barry Weiner’s retirement after this past season, along with the resignation of Assistant Coach Aaron Floyd. Liz Miles, a staunch supporter of the men’s program, is, for unknown reasons, no longer the Assistant Athletic Director. What the hell is going on?
We hear a decision about men’s and women’s gymnastics will be made next month. Elimination of Cal’s men’s gymnastics would be devastating for the team, the state, and NCAA men’s gymnastics as a whole. Locally, it would have a huge negative affect on Stanford’s program. It would leave Stanford as the only men’s Division I gymnastics program west of the Rockies.
Cal Men’s Gymnastics is prestigious. It’s consistently one of the top collegiate programs in the country. Recently, Cal alum Tim McNeill was chosen to represent the United States at last year’s World Championships in London. McNeill and current team members Glen Ishino and Kyle Bunthuwong, all three members of the Senior National Team, have legitimate aspirations to make the 2012 Olympic Team.
The NCAA just released their report on the Athletic Progress Rate (APR) for every Division I athletic program. Cal’s men’s gymnastics team achieved a perfect score. Men’s gymnastics consistently has one of the highest rates of academic achievement of any NCAA sport. Just why are the tenured sports-averse academics at Berkeley picking on the men’s gymnastics team? Why not eliminate some of the less-useful social degree programs?
Looking at the big picture, the Pac-10 will soon be expanding to as many as sixteen teams. This expansion will attract better competition and a huge television contract. Cal’s athletic department will no doubt generate a consistent profit in future years. Now is not the time to eliminate a high-profile Olympic program. Let’s be wise, ride out the state’s fiscal woes, and see how well the Pac-10’s expansion plays out.
Update: We’ve been given a donations link. If everyone who cares about the great sport of men’s gymnastics in the USA would donate $10 to the Cal men’s gymnastics program right now, we could save this valued program! Email this article to gymnasts and their families. We can stop this!
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