Baseball Supporters to Discuss Program's Future With Chancellor

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The Cal baseball team might not be playing out its final season after all.

Although the program had been cut last September - and had remained so along with men's gymnastics when rugby, lacrosse and women's gymnastics were reinstated on Feb. 11 - the Save Cal Baseball movement is scheduled to have a discussion with Chancellor Robert Birgeneau on Monday about the team's future.

The campus had announced in February that, while the Bears could potentially return in the future, they would not play the 2011-12 season. It appears to have softened on that stance.

The Pac-12 finalizes next year's baseball schedule on March 31. Cal baseball will need to gain approval for reinstatement by that date in order to play next spring. By the end of the month, the Save Cal Baseball group plans to meet the $10 million mark the campus had said was required the sustain the team on a long-term basis. Supporters say they have reached $9 million in pledges.

"I think by next week we can be pretty darn close to $10 million," said Dan McInerny, a member of the Save Cal Baseball committee and the Bears' 1980 College World Series squad. "That's coming from friends, family, former players, you name it. We've got pledges from Stanford alums ... It's just an amazing outpouring."

The campus had designated a goal of $25 million for the reinstatement of all five sports before it decided to reinstate three.

McInerny said that because teams had combined fundraising efforts before February, Save Cal Baseball needed to revisit the pledges and sort out which ones had been directed towards saving athletics collectively and which ones were targeted specifically at baseball. He credited the rise in fundraising totals to a combination of that work and refocused efforts such as the Cal Baseball Classic earlier this month, a tournament hosted at AT&T Park on March 11-13 that had proceeds going to the program.

"We've done a really great job of coming back and re-identifying the pledges," McInerny said. "Post-Feb. 11, we all agreed that all those pledges came in for Cal baseball ... We had to go back and ask people to re-pledge."

He also said that the disputes that the group had raised about the campus's figures - it had argued for more than the $1.5 to $2 million cited - have been resolved through that process.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof confirmed that the parties will meet Monday, and said that the campus has continued to work closely with athletics supporters in their fundraising efforts. Still, the movement is reserving some of its optimism.

"It's very touch and go right now," McInerny said. "We don't know if the Chancellor is going to reinstate ... We're just gonna cross that bridge when we get there.

"We have all the faith in the University to make the right decision."


Jack Wang covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected]

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