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Campus Issues: Reinstatement of baseball is welcome news indeed, but donations cannot replace future campus involvement.

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Correction Appended

One cannot help but imagine administrators as umpires determining the fate of the Cal Baseball team, bellowing "Safe!" to an audience on the edge of its seat with anticipation.

Now that officials have announced the baseball program will continue to represent the campus as a varsity intercollegiate sport, joining rugby, lacrosse and women's gymnastics in being reinstated, we and other supporters can breathe collective sighs of relief.

But as the cheers of baseball supporters fade and the campus community moves forward, it's time to reflect on the turbulent process leading up to this point. As men's gymnastics languishes as the sole remaining sport unable to meet fundraising targets, it's clear that donations are inextricably linked with teams' successful futures.

We hope men's gymnastics will be able to raise the necessary $4 million - while the sport is not as high-profile as baseball, historically it has been incredibly successful and made significant contributions to national and Olympic teams. We didn't expect baseball to come back - especially not so quickly - and we would love to be similarly surprised by the men's gymnastics program.

It's impossible to know how this would have panned out differently had the campus presented an ultimatum rather than cutting the teams outright - perhaps the three athletes who left to attend less renowned baseball programs would have remained to pursue successful careers here at Cal - but administrators deserve credit for keeping reinstatement an option and bringing the team back when it became clear it met financial requirements.

As Cal baseball enjoys a reinvigorated future, officials must use some of the new funds to invest in the program. Baseball's success depends on active donor involvement, and donors will be more willing to contribute if the campus shows it is willing to invest its attention.

Campus athletics have come a long way from the gloomy announcement last September five sports would disappear from the varsity roster. The reinstatement of baseball was the latest of a series of welcome surprises - and a step toward the end of a painful process that must never be repeated.

Correction: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the announcement five teams would be cut occurred in November. In fact, the announcement occurred last September.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.





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