Jumping the Gun

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News that supporters of the campus's five cut sports have been able to raise between $12 million and $15 million dollars is welcome news that raises the question of whether the decision to cut the programs was premature.

In September, campus officials announced five teams - baseball, men's and women's gymnastics, lacrosse and rugby - would lose varsity status (though rugby would remain a "varsity club" sport).

At the time, we noted that the cuts suggested administrative mismanagement but said that we understood that sacrifices were necessary due to the financial crisis. Now, however, it has become clear that outright cuts were not the only option on the table.

The success of the fundraising organized by "Save Cal Sports" and the campus's agreement to consider reinstatement of the five cut teams raises the question of why the teams were cut outright, rather than placed on a probationary fundraising period. Had the campus announced at September's press conference that the teams would be cut in June if they were not able to raise $25 million, we believe the urgency would have still prompted a successful fundraising drive without the uncertainty and confusion that occurred.

Administration officials have announced that in order for the sports to be reinstated, supporters must raise $25 million to support the teams for up to 10 years and create a viable endowment plan.

We believe it is shortsighted to insist on $25 million and ignore the money that has already been raised - if supporters were able to raise at least $12 million in 4 months, what's to say they couldn't reach $25 million in the time that they could already fund? While the urgency isn't as present, the teams should have more than enough time.

We say give "Save Cal Sports" a chance, and consider giving supporters more time to hit the $25 million requirement. Bringing back teams funded entirely by donations, is the best of both worlds - Cal can continue its strong athletic tradition, and it does not have to compromise on its world-class academics.

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