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Future Of Some Cal Sports To Learn Fate On Thursday

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BERKELEY (AP) — A decision on whether California’s baseball team and four other programs will be saved will come Thursday.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof says Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will announce Thursday whether the baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse teams will be reinstated after a decision in September to eliminate the programs after this school year.

The men’s rugby team is also hoping to avoid being reclassified as a “varsity club sport,” a new category at Cal.

Reducing the number of intercollegiate teams from 29 to 24 will save an estimated $4 million a year and affect 163 of the school’s more than 800 student-athletes, as well as 13 full-time coaches.

The program cuts are part of a broader campaign to reduce UC Berkeley’s annual support for intercollegiate athletics from more than $12 million today to about $5 million in 2014.

Former Cal and major league baseball player Doug Nickle says “Save Cal Sports” has raised about $15 million to support the five programs.

He said that would allow the programs to continue for the rest of the college careers of the current players on the teams, while a long-term plan is being put together.

Birgeneau has two main criteria to decide whether the teams can be saved.

The first is that $25 million be raised to fund the operating expenses for the program for 5 to 10 years.

Second, is that there is a viable plan to build an endowment to fund the programs long term.

“They’re playing a pretty good poker face right now,” Nickle said. “‘I can’t find any scenario where they could say no. But I guess they made the wrong decision in the first place.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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