The California Golden Bears’ baseball program will be no more after this coming season, the victim of budget cuts that will save the financially strapped university $4 million a year.
Other casualties of the cuts include Cal’s men’s rugby, men and women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse teams. University representatives say the cuts will affect 163 of Cal’s 800-plus student-athletes and coaches.
“Clearly this is a painful outcome after months of deliberations, analysis and the examination of every viable alternative,” said Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour. “I deeply regret the impact this will have on so many valued members of our community.”
The move comes as an especially severe blow to the baseball program, which had been improving in recent years. In 2010, coach David Esquer guided the Bears to a 29-25 record, including a three-game sweep of the USC Trojans at Dedeaux Field. Cal reached the NCAA postseason and was primed to make a run at its sixth trip to the College World Series in 2011.
“It has an effect on all of the Pac-10,” said Stanford coach Mark Marquess. “You are talking about a program that started playing baseball in the 1890s. That’s over 100 years of tradition … It’s hard to believe.”
Normal NCAA transfer restrictions on will not apply to Cal, as players will be able to seek transfers to other Division I programs without having to sit out a season.
Cal’s baseball program began in 1892 and has produced two national titles.