Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“It's Better to Lose than to Win at the Sacrifice of an Ideal," Andy Smith



When the demotion of Rugby and the elimination of baseball et al. were first announced I began a series based on two lines from one of my grandfather’s favorite poems:
You don’t go down with a short hard fall, you just sort of shuffle along
‘Till you lighten your load with the moral code, ‘till you can’t tell right from wrong.
It was my contention that the Chancellor’s approach to lowering the bar at Cal, academically and admissions-wise (and the Athletic Director’s decision to punish Rugby, rather than reward and celebrate excellence) was yet another marker in the continued dumbing down of the school we all love so much.
The hypothesis was that millions of dollars are being wasted in salaries for professors who are teaching classes where making sock dolls constitutes a final; where “therapy” trumps academic rigor; to say nothing of promoting classes on TV shows like Mad Men, and the Scrabble class my daughter took, where for the midterm she had to memorize all the two letter words.
Add to that the exorbitant waste in bloated administration (compare the number of pages under “Deans and administration” in your yearbook to today’s Blue and Gold)—and one can see that it is foolish and “political” to grandstand by demoting Rugby and cutting baseball .
It’s like the TSA patting down passengers in public, while allowing baggage handlers and all other airport personal to go into the bowels of the airport with nothing more than the swipe of an ID card. All style—no substance. Looks good to the outside—means nothing in reality.
Even Bain found $75 to $100 million in outright waste.
But the most galling fact was the blatant dishonesty regarding our AD’s approach to Rugby.
We are supposed to be teachers. We are supposed to be educators. We are supposed to be setting an example based on character and integrity, so these kids come out with more than a sheepskin and the promise of a 6 figure job working 20 hours a day on Wall St.
Rugby was designated “Varsity Club” due to Title IX. No one disputes that. (To review: Once women sports were cut we were switched to another “prong” on Title IX which bases participation on proportionality of the student body. With 800 athletes, and a ratio of say 53% women to 47% men, the number of athletes is theoretically required to mirror that).
The 64 male spots which Rugby took up were supposed to help alleviate the current imbalance.
Here’s the dishonesty: In an effort to placate snotty Old Blues like me, they said, “No one will ever know.” Wink, wink. Details had to be worked out, but basically Coach Clark’s boys would get access to the athletic study Center, training facilities, locker rooms, athletic trainers, equipment etc. (Of course, donors would have to pay for it all). The only thing different would be that Rugby would report to a Vice Chancellor instead of the Athletic Director—making it a club sport (for the first time in history despite the AD’s claims to the contrary), and we could still play for and add to our 25 National championships.
Many fair minded men, women, and major donors thought that was a reasonable solution.
Some called or e-mailed me and said, “What’s the big deal? Please go along with this and don’t make waves.”
Jack Clark’s Big Deal is “validation.” As he said, “What part of me doesn’t look like Varsity to you.” Tough to argue with that.
The real “Big Deal?” It was always blatantly dishonest to take this approach, but I kept my mouth shut until the Oregon fiasco.
Our AD and Chancellor were gaming the system. They were saying we’re a “club” sport—but we’re “wink, wink” Varsity too. As a club, we don’t count under Title IX—even though everything’s the same as when we were Varsity! “Wink, wink.”
Boy are we smart! No one will ever figure it out. We can be Varsity and Club and no one will ever know!
You don’t go down with a short hard fall, you just sort of shuffle along
‘Till you lighten your load with the moral code, ‘till you can’t tell right from wrong.
And that’s what caused the Oregon Fiasco. An institutional mentality that it is ok to flaunt the spirit of the law as long as you adhere to the “letter of the law.”
It starts at the top. Institutional attitudes set the tonality for those underneath.
The Chancellor and the AD created a working environment where respect for the law and the truth could be flaunted as long as it was “politically correct”--or brought in revenue (see selling desks to out of state students while denying local tax payers' kids).
Sock doll finals, Scrabble classes, Therapy classes, Diversity classes, Mad Men classes, bloated administration—all of it could be justified as long as we all “winked” together and pretended that they were necessary to produce a holistic educational environment.
Teachers got paid—they were happy.
Administrators got jobs for life—they were happy.
Kids didn’t have to study or flunk out—they were happy.
Parents got kids who graduated—they were happy.
Rugby would be “Varsity Club”—Title IX would be happy.
Everyone was happy except that tiny minority of people who took Professor Richmond’s Shakespeare class (and others of integrity) who bought into Polonius' words to Laertes, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”
Or my grandfather’s admonition to us: “It doesn’t matter how rich a man is, how kind, how loving, how generous. The only thing that counts is a man’s character. And a man’s character is defined by his refusal to lie.”
For some, this entire charade regarding Rugby and cutting baseball has been one big lie.
It boiled over in the Oregon Fiasco, when students from the University of California, “Faked” injuries so that our team could slow down the Oregon juggernaut.
Many of my friends—good people all—considered it gamesmanship—not much different than the Oregon Coaches setting up for five seconds—checking out the Cal defense—then having each of their players turn to the sideline for instructions on the next play.
Gamesmanship? Cheating? For some it’s a tough call. My bet is that for my grandmother and your grandfather it is not a tough call. They weren’t into the situational ethics that are so in vogue today.
Can a student ask for time during a 3 hour physics final so that he can be treated for indigestion. Should the test be stopped until he's taken care of? Can others work while he's being attended to?
“It's Better to Lose than to Win at the Sacrifice of an Ideal,” Coach Andy Smith
By trying to “game the system” regarding Rugby, the Chancellor and The AD set an example that it is OK to “Look for the loop hole” as my friend says. That it is OK (in an educational institution) to take short cuts and violate the spirit of the law (Title IX)—as long as you don’t violate the letter of the law.
“Everything will be the same, except you won’t report to the AD. You still have Varsity status, but you’re a club.” Wink, wink.
Hello fake injuries to allow for substitutions.
Tedford has a lot going for him on the asset side of the ledger. I’m not here to throw him under the bus. Think of all he's done for graduation rates.
But (if the Chron reported it right—a big if). Sandy was way out of line throwing a 29 year old assistant coach (a kid, really) under the bus.
She suspended defensive coach Tosh Lopoi for one game for directing his kids to fake injuries so that the clock would stop and substitutions could be made.
Anyone who knows Tosh knows that he is a class act, perhaps the best recruiter we have, and a wonderful, young, loyal golden Bear.
Don't lay it on Tedford. The Chancellor and the AD set the tonality. They should not be surprised that others did what they have been doing.
Which is worse? Faking an injury or calling classes with sock doll finals academic courses? You decide.
Which is worse? Penalizing excellence (in the name of Rugby) or tossing a 29 year old kid under the bus for doing the same thing you have done? Bending the rules just a bit.
Our AD and Chancellor are using gamesmanship to skirt Title IX. Yet, they have the audacity to suspend a kid for following their lead?
(I’m not giving Tedford a pass here. Clearly, as the one in charge, it happened on his watch. But he’s only reflecting the culture he’s been hired to protect and promote).
It’s better to lose than to win at the sacrifice of an ideal. (These words of Andy Smith are engraved on the back of the stone bench in Memorial Stadium).
I don’t know what happened, but I know who was responsible. Could it have happened under Robert Gordon Sproul or Benjamin Ide Wheeler?
The Oregon fiasco was not a firable offense. But it was wrong. And throwing a kid under the bus was not the grown up way to handle it. Our AD looked bush league.
And Yes, I was in school when scandals happened. Did the head coach know? I don’t know, but I do know that he took responsibility and that when Arleigh Williams said he would have to fire two of Ray Willsey’s coaches, Ray said, “If you fire them, you fire me.” And he was gone.
I know it wasn't just Tedford which caused this problem.
What I know is that the greatest university in the world has chosen to opt for style over substance and is now in the business of promoting dishonest policies from the classroom to the football field—and throwing underlings under the bus when “irregularities” come to light.
As a proud alumnus, this does not sit well on any front.
The lack of institutional control in the classroom and on the athletic fields is unbecoming of an institution of our stature.
It’s no secret that the finest men you will ever meet met with the Chancellor last week. Instead of coming away with an “I’ve never seen such passion. We can do it together attitude. I’m spending everyday for the next 10 months making this happen….” Position—we get a FAQ from the AD justifying her and the Chancellor’s anemic actions. Why are they stone walling us? What gives?
The Chancellor said "no more cuts." This group pointed out that there is still an imbalance regarding men and women. What about our "moral obligation to support Title IX?
Both the Chancellor and the AD will be gone in a year or two. We are still here to pick up the pieces.
According to an Article in the Sac Bee which lists the salaries of 1,900 faculty members and administrators (none is under $102,000)

our AD made $470,000 in 2009. The Chancellor actually makes less. That these two could make almost a million dollars a year between them and the best they could do is demean excellence, promote mediocrity, and embarrass the greatest university in the nation in front of the world does not sit well with some of us.
How many remains to be seen.
You don’t go down with a short hard fall, you just sort of shuffle along
‘Till you lighten your load with the moral code, ‘till you can’t tell right from wrong.
Go bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70
`

Monday, November 15, 2010

THE SMELL OF VICTORY


Did you hear Ronnie Lot on the Radio last week? Talking about the Giants he went on and on about the aroma—the smell of victory. It permeates everything, he said. It is infectious. He talked about Super Bowl in ’81 and said afterwards he got to meet Duke Snider and Whitey Ford. He met Reggie. He found himself sought out by champions. He said the Giants’ Championship would impact positively on the 49ers and the Warriors.

He’s been there. I take him at his word.

And if he’s right, then the opposite must be true.

I was thinking of that as the Bears barely edged WSU last week and got dominated by SC and OSU. (Kudos, however, for the kids pulling it together on Sat. against Ducks).

Cal’s decision to cut Baseball and demote Rugby has repercussions beyond the actual sports cut. It affects all athletes on campus and all coaches. It says a lot about us as an institution.

Good management starts at the top. That’s where the tone is set—whether we’re talking about British Petroleum or the Raiders. Management decisions send messages to all concerned.

When a management team elects to punish excellence (in the name of Rugby) instead of rewarding it, it sends a signal to all coaches and athletes in the program that it’s ok to be mediocre. It advertises to the world that we are about something else besides excellence.

And as Ronnie Lott said, it’s infectious. Excellence breeds excellence—mediocrity, mediocrity.

Coaches and kids need to know that their hard work and sacrifices will be rewarded—not ignored, punished, or downgraded.

This, by the way, is a university wide problem—not just the Athletic Department’s.

It’s why we should ALL help Rugby to Save Cal.

You’ve read about the sock dolls my daughter made for her final in professor Americ Azevedo’s “Peace and Conflicts Studies” class, and the Chron reported on the class dedicated to the TV series “Mad Men.”

I didn’t tell you about my daughter’s “Diversity” Class. Cindy calls it the Noah’s Ark Class, because it was limited to “two of each.” Two Asians, Two Blacks, Two Latinos, Two Homosexuals, etc. My kid was one of the “Honkey bitches.”

She would attend class regularly to be berated and screamed at for “White privilege.” In class each pair would take turns at the black board (grease easel?) while others shouted out stereotypes to them. They’d be required write them on the wall: “Chink, Nigger, White Bitch, Slant eyes, has rhythm, lazy, shiftless, privileged, can’t dance, greaser, Spic”--you get the idea.

My favorite “mid-term” was when they had to either go to a gay bar and get picked up: Come “out” to their parents: or walk across campus holding hands with a member of the same sex.

This professor is getting paid six figures to promote such rigorous academic standards while Rugby is being penalized for promoting excellence . Don’t say they’re not connected.

For years, we’ve been dumbing down the school across the board.

When someone thinks the answer to a budget crisis is simply to take sports away from children, it lacks subtlety. It is not nuanced enough. It shows a lack of imagination and creativity. It’s unprofessional. Besides, as you’ve seen, there are plenty of (therapy) classes (and a plethora of redundant administrators) we could eliminate if we wanted to trim our budgets.

I’m surprised the faculty hasn’t interceded here to tell the Chancellor this is not what they meant at all. (I’ve received e-mails from faculty members who are appalled by the Chancellor’s direction). What the faculty wanted was to reign in the run-away expenses, contracts, travel, equipment, and general “arms race” prevalent in all college athletics.

I don’t think the Chancellor or Sandy are bad people or incompetent. I think they made a mistake when acting under extreme financial pressure. Understandably, they erred in the heat of battle.

They don’t understand certain subtleties which define this school.

(It's one of the reasons the Chancellor doesn't understand the opposition to his proposal to sell seats to out of state students while denying them to off spring of in-state residents).

See, they don’t know what it is like to take Bonehead English, or about reading Chaucer in that first English 1A class where every other kid in the room is smarter than you are.

They’ve never sat in a Physics 10 lecture hall with 500 kids, scared to death that you are apt to be one of the 40% of the Freshman that will flunk out that year.

They haven’t been overwhelmed by the sexual laxness and abundance of chemical substances which were never a part of the small towns so many of us grew up in.

Navigating the mine fields of Sproul Plaza and bringing half formed ideas back to Thanksgiving dinners is a uniquely Cal thing. Sure all kids who go away to College get exposed to new ideas, but it’s not the same anywhere as it is at Cal.

Cal is so big, so scary, so daunting that those of us that survived it feel a special kinship. We know we belong to a tribe—a tribe that is like no other—-no other in the land. Outsiders can never understand our culture--what makes us so different.

There are tougher schools in the World. There may be prettier campii. But no other University combines the academic rigors, the Darwinian Survival credo, the competitive ethos, the opportunity to experiment with untested lifestyles, the ability to discover one’s own voice, the diversity of thought, country of origin, economic background and skin color that Cal does. NOBODY.

Like New York, “If you can make it there….” (And yes, we each know the tragic stories of those who couldn’t make it and died too young).

That’s why we are different. And that’s why the Administration erred. They couldn’t compute the psychic math.

The last Chancellor who was a Physicist, Glenn Seaborg, literally created the PFC (Pacific Coast Conference). He truly knew the value of athletics to a campus. My Grandfather sat with him at the '59 Rose Bowl. (Under him, we won the NCAA tourney as well). A Nobel Prize Winner, Chancellor Seaborg understood the importance of pursuit of excellence in all fields of endeavor.

The solution to inter-collegiate athletics needs to be a comprehensive one. It lies in generating more revenues via licensing, stadium naming rights, contracts with apparel companies, TV dollars, ticket revenues, and general advertising, marketing and promotion.

It requires trimming fat in the athletic department (we hear 5 million, easily), and trimming fat all across the board in each sport.

It means reviewing travel costs, scheduling, scholarships and squad sizes. It means factoring in the new Pac 12 contract (they say they have, but that “expenses will be rising too.” What kind of a statement is that?)

(Remember: with a 70 million dollar budget a 5% across the board cut means $3,500,000, just about they’re saving by demoting Rugby and cutting the others.

Both Tedford and Montgomery are stand up guys. I’m still surprised that they haven’t gone to Sandy and said, “This is wrong. We’ll each cut back 5% so you can make your numbers.” It must be tearing their guts out that they’ve been unable to do this—or maybe they have and we don’t know.

I just can't see Nibbs Price, Brutus Hamilton, Pete Newell, Pappy Waldorf or Andy Smith standing by doing nothing while other coaches' sports were cut.

In short, t’s about increasing revenues and cutting costs—-not cutting children’s sports.


The oddest thing is, why aren't they talking to us?

They were willing to spend two years (and spend $2,000,000) talking to Dumpster Muffin, Zacery Running Wolf, Burlap and the Tree Sitters. We can't even get an e-mail back--unless it's a "bot."

Oh, there have been some meetings and lots of back channel stuff. But not once has the Chancellor or AD come out and said, "It's my priority to work with Alumni to solve this debacle and make sure we don't cut any sports."

As a kid, our coach Mr. Carpy used to bench us if we showed up to a game without our baseball cap, belt, or our shoes unshined. “A fella who cares enough to look like a ball player might just be a ball player,” he told us.

A University which embraces excellence is on the way to being excellent. A university which honors winners, just might become a winner—across the board.

Alas, the opposite is equally true—as we’re all seeing.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

UPDATES: Baseball seems to think that they are getting a number from the Chancellor which if it can be met, will bring it back. Whether that number is reasonable or not remains to be seen.

Rugby has a plan to be self-funded and include Women’s Rugby (which Sandy is resisting). But the issue Varsity Status has not been resolved.
(I’m told) Rugby will NOT be a member of the B C society if it is demoted to “Varsity Club.”

I think the Big C Society erred in sending out their ‘UC Berekely Intercollegiate Athletics FAQ” without thoroughly identifying it’s source. It looks like it is coming from Big C. It contains many errors and is the administration’s take—not fact based. Example: Rugby was NEVER a club sport. Big C should not be telling people that Rugby was a “Club” sport when it never was.

A member of the Athletic Department verified that Cal has, if not the smallest, one of the smallest contracts with Niki in the Conference.

ESP licenses are being impacted. It's affecting finances. One $200,000 check has already been returned. This debacle needs to be resolved soon.

There is a lot of back channel activity going on. We’ll know more soon. This IS NOT
over.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

"Gimme a C"

Jim Pop was dying. We all knew it. No one talked about it. The big C was taking its course. His left leg was swelling and, despite his protestations to the contrary he was not going to beat IT. He'd just turned 71 in the Spring of '91. The question was would he make it to Christmas.

Jim Pop was different from thee and me. He was truly old school. He cared. He believed in heroes and symbols. He was a patriot and proud of it. He was loyal, true and proud. The only thing he was prouder of than being a Marine (if you don't count being married to Maggie) was that he was a Golden Bear. He loved his school. He loved all things Cal. He was the definition of "Loyal Old Blue".

But there was a gap. A hole he'd been unable to fill. And silently it ate at him. Oh, he was an accomplished student-dean's list--went on to Harvard Business School. He was a leader--president of his Fraternity House, Senior Hall of Fame; a member of all the prestigious clubs, Order of the Golden Bear, Skull & Keys, Beta Beta, among others that shall go unnamed.

And he had lettered in 5 sports. Freshman basketball, the Ramblers (JV football) and three years in rugby, where he was also the captain. But Rugby was considered a "Minor Sport". One received a Circle C for that-not the Holy Grail: A Big "C". (Big C's were awarded for Football, Baseball, Basketball, Tennis and Track. Everything else was considered a "minor" sport and received Little or circle C's).

Despite all his accomplishments, his heart was forever broken for he'd failed to be awarded a Varsity letter.

It was never a question of toughness. Rugby coaching legend Doc Hudson put on Jim Pop's application for the Marines "He'd tackle a Truck". But size, academics or student "orgs" always seemed to intercede when all he really wanted to do was to run out of that tunnel in memorial stadium with a leather helmet on his head.

By chance, I had heard a few years earlier that a friend of mine had been awarded and honorary Big C. One night, after hearing Jim Pop lament that his two greatest regrets were that he didn't receive a purple heart and that he hadn't won his Big C, it hit me.

Though over the years I had been tempted to graze his cheek with a thirty ought six, I realized that was probably ought of the question. At 71 it was too late for the Purple Heart.

So I called by friend "Boomer", a great defensive back and rugger from the early fifties and said, "Who do I have to sleep with to get Jim Pop an honorary Big C?"

Besides being an amazing bass player, Boomer had played Rugby into his early 50's and knew something about love of sports and love of Cal.

"No one deserves a Big C more than Jimmy", he said. "Let me make a couple of calls.

Each spring, the Big C Society has its annual banquet. Eventually, Boomer called back and said that a Surprise Honorary Big C letterman's sweater would await Jim Pop at their banquet at the Claremont Country Club. All I had to do was get Jim Pop down, without telling him why.

I concocted a story saying that Cal was going to name a crew boat after our friend Gary, who had done so much to endow the crew (as a sidebar, that actually happened later, but how was I to know?). Jim Pop demurred-too difficult-too tiring-but being a loyal Blue he felt he couldn't let Gary down.

As we drove down, I had to fight off tears as Jim Pop mentioned how a few years back, the Ricksen twins (Tennis and Basketball stars) had said they were working on getting Big C's awarded to anyone who lettered three years in a "minor" sport. Jim Pop would have qualified. "But it never happened", he said as he hung his head despairingly. Then talking to himself, "I really thought I had a chance". And he shook his head.

Barely able to see through the tears, I made it to the Claremont. The dining room was packed. Football head coach Bruce Snyder was awarded an honorary Big C. And then it happened.

Boomer read a citation, citing Jim Pop's athletic accomplishments, and like a housewife on Queen for a Day, Jim pop took the podium with tears streaming down his face. The kids, black, white, Asian and (unlike in his day) women, gave a standing ovation to this over the hill jock.

He put on his sweater with the 15 bumble bee stripes (representing the 15 positions on a rugby team) and wouldn't take it off.

We drove back to St. Helena. The next morning Jim Pop hobbled into the kitchen with his sweater on.

"Hop-a-long, I never slept. I wore my sweater to bed and stayed up all night long. I can't believe it. I've got a Big C."

He wore it every day of his life for the following six months. He made it to Christmas and wore it on Christmas day. January 13th he left us-the sweater next to his bed.

I attended a Big C executive board meeting last week. "Kids these days won't wear their sweaters", I was told. "It doesn't mean anything."

Really?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MAD MEN

No doubt you all saw the article in the Chron the other day. Cal is offering a class on “Mad Men,” the television series. As a former Creative Director in N.Y. (starting in ’71) I can relate to the show. The only difference is that in our time there was more smoking, drinking and sex.

The article speaks volumes about the situation on Campus today. Cal is willing to demote the Rugby program (the poster child for the pursuit of excellence) but spend money on Classes about TV shows. Shakespeare is so last year. (My daughter, besides taking the class where they made sock dolls for their final—also took a DeCal class in Scrabble. For her midterm, she had to memorize all the two letter words. You can’t make this stuff up).

We are being led down the path to mediocrity. This has been going on for a while. The new Chancellor and AD, did not create this, but they are promoting it. Punishing excellence (in the case of Rugby) is just the most visible, egregious example. A great University bends over backwards to reward excellence—not punish it.

It’s fair to say that the folks tasked with the decision to cut sports were reacting to pressure from the faculty and from Sacramento to have athletics share in the cutbacks which are affecting the University as a whole. I haven’t met a person who disagrees with that.

But where does one cut?

Shouldn't it start with administrative staff? Check out your Blue & Gold year book and count the number of administrators and Deans and compare it to today's.

Check out the Bain Study. $75,000,000 in waste and they haven't even hit the athletic department yet.


The last thing one does is cut the finest (I know water polo and crew might disagree) example of an intercollegiate athletic program in the nation--Rugby.

Cal has now managed to embarrass us across the country. We are a national laughing stock. Cut baseball? The national pastime? Has anyone seen how the Giants re-emergence has affected the entire Bay Area—let alone the country? You don't think that type of stuff happens to a campus?

Granted, Brian Wilson looks like a porno star from an 8 millimeter stag flick in the 60’s (remember how men used to wear beards and women “bug eye glasses” so they couldn’t be identified?). But aren’t his heroics and those of the rest of our knuckleheads capturing the heart of a nation?

Do these people not know what baseball means to the soul of this country? The greatest University in the World will never NOT have a baseball program. It is inconceivable.

Did these folks never have a “catch” with their father? Apparently not. For no man or women who ever tossed a ball with his or her dad would ever cut baseball anytime, anywhere. It dishonors one's heritage--one's father. It’s about poetry. It’s about soul. It’s disrespecting your father who gave you those magical moments of tossing the ball back and forth when no one else would.

This is the problem that occurs when the “White man” comes in and does not understand the culture of the “Indigenous peoples.” We are the Indians. Strangers have invaded our territory and are trampling on our traditions, disrespecting our ancestors, denying us our rituals, disregarding our “laws” and customs, all for financial gain—gain that means nothing to us.

They are selling seats in classrooms to out of State kids (They’ll pay $32,000 to our in-staters $11,000 in tuition), preventing our neighbors’ kids with 4.3 g.p.a.’s from attending the school which our taxes support.

In the midst of this crisis, the Chancellor took off for Asia to raise some more money from non-state residents. This is what we have come to. We (the Indians) don’t count anymore. “They” do—because “They” have the money.

Once, before we left that locker room to run out through the tunnel to play our first football game, Truck Cullom would tell us the legend of Andy Smith. We weren’t going out there to go to the BCS Bowl. We weren’t going out there even to go to the Rose Bowl. We definitely weren’t going out there to get more money for the conference.

We were going out there on a sacred field where Andy Smith’s ashes had been scattered. We were going out there to uphold the ideals of Andy Smith—not to get TV ratings. And what were those ideals which we were entrusted with?

Were they to look, both the Chancellor and the A.D. could read these words from Andy Smith on the back of the Bench, inscribed in stone, in Memorial Stadium:

We don’t want men who will lie down bravely to die
But men who will fight valiantly to live.
Winning is not everything,
And it is far better to Play the game squarely and lose
Than to win at the sacrifice of an ideal

You say this is mawkish. You laugh at me, but this is what football was to us. Yes, we wanted to go to the Rose Bowl—yes, we wanted to be ranked nationally—yes, we wanted to win the Pac 10-- but these were the words that the coaches used to inspire us—not, “If we make the BCS it means $17,000,000 to the Conference—Now go out there and win one for the Wallet!

Cal is embarrassing itself in its pursuit of lucre.

We (as the greatest University in the world) don’t abandon programs like Rugby (or physics for that matter) in order to save money. We find different ways—either by increasing revenue (which we can—big time--through professional marketing), by sharing cuts across the board, or by giving alumni like all of us the chance to help out. This is the most mysterious element of all. Why aren’t the Chancellor and the A.D. welcoming Alumni support?

Why have they built up a wall to keep us from helping?

Why did they not figure in the additional $6,000,000 to $10,000,000 revenue from the new Pac 12 TV package?

Instead of cultivating us, they are saying silly things like, “The decision’s been made and there is no recourse.” This is unbecoming of a “Great Institution.” Why won’t they work with us?

I sat in the press box during Saturday’s ASU game. The entire day was ghastly—the dismal weather was a distant second to the mood of all the people who love Cal and the way we have been treated over the past few weeks. Fortunately, Cal played well, but it couldn’t overcome the lack of attendance and the lack of enthusiasm generated by the murder of sports we all hold dear.

It matters to no one, but I got the major cold shoulder from both the Chancellor and the A.D. (I should have worn my black beard).

Years ago, when I was a trustee (and there were two buildings on campus named after Earl Warren--that is before they tore one down in the middle of the night because someone gave more money than we did) there were a lot of back slaps and” love ya’ Charlie Baby” whenever I was around. Saturday, there was the “Hi. How are ya’. And then turn the eyes away and ignore the idiot Rugby fanatic. Fair enough.

I do not think they are bad people. I think they made a simple mistake—an understandable one giving the economic dynamic of the times.

I am criticizing what I think is a gigantic error. I don’t think they’ve done the math. They believe they have. They believe that some old curmudgeons like me will raise a little hell, hold back a few hundred thousand--but that the new Out of State money will replace our upsettedness (is that a word?).

I think they’re wrong—and I’m offended by their rudeness. My family has been involved with that school since 1908 and to be given the “cold shoulder”—just because we disagree on policy is not copestic.

But I dirgress. Usually, in these screeds, I always mention folks names because we are family and it is fun to see our friends names in print. But I don’t want anyone identified with me and discriminated against, so I’ll keep each person anonymous, but I promise (on Andy Smith’s head) what I say is true:

Here are our problems: How can a school which spent two years and two million dollars letting high school kids named Oak, Burlap, and Zacery Runningwolf--he of the "so-sue-me" tribe sit in trees and halt a construction project because the School didn’t have the cojones to enforce the law—then cut a program which demands and pursues excellence, like Rugby?

(In fact, had we had warning, we could have hired them to camp out on Witter Field and might have saved our Rugby pitch. It's not to late to buy them some dope and have them pitch their tents on Edwards).

We have a $500,000,000 budget. What’s the big deal about spending One percent ($5,000,000) on athletics? Isn’t 2% ($10,000,000) a reasonable number? The chancellor says $5,000,000 is the conference average, but since we must have the largest budget in the Conference, clearly we are spending less per student than others.

Over the past decade, our Endowment returned an average of 3.5% on 6 Billion dollars (total). Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford are averaging 9.5% over the same period. My friend (who shall go unnamed so he’s not shunned) has been working on everyone involved to fix this, but all he gets his happy talk. Neither the Chancellor nor the Trustees have provided an adequate answer. We're leaving 300 million a year on the table. He’s going to the President of the Board of Regents, and then to the Governor.

(I say give it to Yale and let them take 1% just to manage our money and we still come out way ahead (One year they pulled in 13.5%).

The Chancellor says the Major Donors are OK with his decision. The Witters are not major donors? Or is it just the Johnny-come-latelies that count with him? Though the Witter family may not give as much today as some of the new Dot Commers, remember—they gave and gave big—when no one else (save Phebe Hearst) was doing it.

Here’s the rest of the Gossip from the Press Box, though I can’t authenticate a thing.

The following is all GOSSIP.

When asked about baseball my friend (who shall go nameless) said, “We can’t pin them down. They’re waffling.”

One of Cal’s biggest supporters and a die hard football fan and one of the ESP’s biggest proponent’s-- (my friend who shall go nameless) wrote a scathing letter and resigned from the ESP board and will not (until this gets resolved) help sell ESP’s.

(ESP's--Endowment Seat Program--are the seats that are being sold for the Stadium which are to finance the stadium and eventually endow all sports).

My friend (nameless) tells me Cal has floated a bond (this is way above my pay scale) based on the good faith and credit of the Regents.

My friend (nameless) told me that more people are now canceling their ESP’s than are ordering new ones. If this is true (again above my pay scale) I was told this must be disclosed to potential bond holders.

My friend (nameless) told me Baseball was told that if they could raise 1.3 mill, they could come back. My friend says Cal is now waffling on that.

My friend (nameless) has said, “let’s just raise 20 mill and use principle and interest for 10 years to bridge the gap until we see what the new TV contracts and the ESP’s bring us.

My other friend (nameless) is working to implement the Chancellor’s committee’s recommendations of Benchmarks and time frames for each sport to hit. He is finding resistance.

My friend (nameless) says the Athletic Department is leaving many marketing dollars on the table. How come no one has talked to Larry Baer (President of the Giants) or Dick Beahrs (Owner of the San Jose Giants) about how to market baseball at Cal?

My friend (nameless) says his friend (nameless) has pledged $100,000 per year for Women’s Lacrosse.

My friend (nameless) has pledged $1,500,000 from his estate for Rugby.

My friend (a nameless law professor) has offered to mediate between the athletic department and the sports—but was rebuffed by the Chancellor.

The clear answer seems to be to bring back all five sports. Cal is resisting this. Why the wall?

They are also resisting Rugby’s offer to field Women’s Rugby—and to pay for it. This clearly shows that something odd is going on.


Now, clearly I’m just one little country boy who sees only one side of the picture. But with all this enthusiasm and help, why are the Chancellor, Athletic Director and Frank Yeary NOT harnessing this energy to come up with a solution?


An unintended consequence of this is that the Administration has turned alumnus against alumnus. Some think Rugby should just shut up. Some think Women’s gymnastics is a waste. Some are just glad their sport has been saved and can’t worry about the moral imperatives regarding other sports. Some think screeds like these are counter productive—that a healthy debate is not appropriate.

Thanks to the administration’s actions, friends who have always considered themselves part of the Cal family are now taking sides and the Campus Community is becoming more divided than it’s been since the 60’s.

People are cutting back on ESP’s and over time donations will clearly dwindle. There is no reason to go down this path.

Assuming these are all good people, it’s time for the administration to sit down with the alumni and solve these problems in a collaborative fashion. Cold shoulders have their place—mostly at Senior proms where a lover has been rejected), but not at Cal.

Mr. Birgeneau: TAKE DOWN THAT WALL!

Much better to keep "Mad Men" as a TV series than have them around your school, and cutting off funds. Who knows? It could be that Mad Women are angrier than Mad Men.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70
Rugby 66-68

P.S. Anyone watching the Giants tonight still think the (former) "Greatest University in the World" can't field a baseball team? Please................

Thursday, October 14, 2010

“Separate but equal is inherently unequal.”

A Cal Alumnus wrote those words and spoke them from the Bench back in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education—a decision which changed America. That Alumnus got 8 other old white guys (three from the segregated South) to join him in a unanimous decision to end segregation. No longer could public schools discriminate on the basis of the color of one’s skin.

Separate but equal is now being re-instituted at Cal. Thankfully, it’s not based on skin color—but basing it on sex doesn’t make it any more tolerable.

As everyone has seen by now, (though folks count numbers differently) Rugby wasn’t demoted due to dough. Rugby costs around $500,000 and generates around $800,000 in endowment money, annual giving, signage, gate receipts and licensing fees (some $300,000, alone).

But because it is played by men it is being reduced from Varsity to some nebulous “Club” status so it won’t count against Title IX. Separate from Varsity—but equal to Varsity.

Why are we promoting a “Separate but Equal” paradigm instead of fighting for social justice?

Will this be Berkley's Bakke?

And here’s the kicker: Forget quibbling about numbers, Coach Jack Clark has told Cal we will pay our way and we’ll sponsor Women’s Rugby as well—free—if you act now before midnight!

`Why would a great institution resist growing women’s sports at no cost to it?

But the big Question today is “Where are the other coaches?”

Have they been muzzled?

Why aren’t Tedford, Montgomery and the coaches from the other sports raising Hell about Rugby being demoted and other sports being cut? They know it’s wrong. As teachers they should set the example and speak out against all injustice.


This befuddles me. Especially, football. It has been inextricably intertwined with Rugby until recently. Back in the day we all played football in the fall and Rugby in the Spring (OK, some of us played more than others).

Will this fiasco endanger the building of the High Performance Center. Will it jeopardize ESP sales for the new stadium?

Is this about Cal not wanting to compete with sports donors for possible ESP dollars?

I know each coach personally. They have brought glory to our Campus. We are in their debt.

Coach Tedford will soon surpass the sainted Andy Smith’s record, and in no time Coach Montgomery brought us a Pac 10 Championship. (Plus his kid and one of my daughters are pals so there’s a chance for an extra ticket in a pinch).

By all indications they are working hard to graduate their kids. Each has improved upon his predecessor. In the murky world of big time College sports they’re working hard to run clean programs and appear to be succeeding.

Were it not for Sandy we would not have Tedford nor Montgomery. We support them whole heartedly.

And were it not due to these two programs’ success we wouldn’t have any of the sports we’ve got.

But for a variety of reasons they can’t hold a candle to Rugby when it comes to championships won, GPA’s, or graduation rates. Yet, they know about excellence—and strive daily to achieve it.

Last night the whole world watched 33 miners being joyfully rescued from 2000 feet under the ground. They survived because they stayed together and pulled for each other. Granted this is hardly life and death, but isn’t there a lesson to be learned here?

Does anyone think that if tough times continue the faculty and Sacramento aren’t going to come after their programs next?

I would think that the women’s coaches in particular would be incensed that cutting Lacrosse and Women’s gymnastics then “balancing it with cutting baseball and demoting Rugby” is demeaning to all concerned, especially competitive women.

How patronizing and insulting? Everyone knows that Title IX was meant to create opportunities for women, not reduce them for men. Our women are being tooled. It treats them as “little girls” incapable of standing on their own.

This is no lesson to be teaching children. This is no example to set.

Programs (and sock doll classes) should be kept or cut on their own merits—not to “make everything fair.”

And don’t say it’s the law. It isn’t. Cal is using Title IX (to keep the metaphor going) the way states used to use literary tests to keep blacks from voting. “Hey. We’re just following the law,” was the cry as they disenfranchised a whole sector of our people.


I don’t understand why (at a minimum) all the coaches don’t sign a letter asking Cal to re-examine their options (we’ll get to them in a moment).

I’m deadly serious when I say I think the major revenue sports ought to go to the powers that be and say, “Our expenses are $70,000,000. We’ll take an across the board cut of 5% in each sport.” That’s $3,500,000 right there and it can be replaced by a combination of donor dollars and MARKETING DOLLARS.

It’s the righteous thing to do and the coaches know it. They have their jobs due to the largess of the tax payers, and they ought to be willing to take a hit to their programs (if that’s what it takes) to prevent the most storied program of all from being demoted.

They don't have to take personal pay cuts, but it is of note that our combined coaching salaries in all sports is 6th highest in the Country.

As to Marketing? By now you’ve probably already seen this chart:

• UCLA on the verge of signing a $7.5m extension w/Adidas

• UW- $3.4m with Nike

• Oregon- $2.8m with Nike (aside from other Phil Knight donations)

• WSU- $ 1.5m with Nike

• Alabama- $3.5m

• Oregon State- $ 653,000


Cal- $349,000

Do we need to comment on this?

Lastly, aren’t we supposed to be about academics first and foremost? In the criteria offered up by the Chancellor’s committee, it talked about “Contribution to Director’s cup” and “Diversity” but didn’t mention GPA’s or graduation rates?

Wazzupwiddat?

GPA’s and Graduation rates should have been first on the list.

Speaking of which, now that we know a 5% cut across the board could make this entire problem go away, why not incentivize the 29 teams thusly: All teams get cut 6%, the top ten teams in GPA and Grad rates only 5%--or some such formula. Tie their funding to their GPA's.

I have much to say about baseball and how we could make that viable, but that’s for another time.

Someone said, “We’ve thought of everything.” We haven’t.

Someone also implied these decisions are final. They're not.

This is not over.



Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70
Rugby ’66-‘68

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HELP RUGBY SAVE CAL

The morning of the UCLA game a plane flew over campus (thanks to 9/11 planes can’t fly over packed stadiums anymore) trailing a banner which read “Save Cal Rugby.”

They had it wrong.

It should have read “Help Rugby Save Cal.”

Yes. It’s Cal we should be concerned about. The Rugby debacle is just a symptom of a deeper malaise.

The tendency is to lash out, but we should remember, that these are not evil people intentionally trying to destroy the (once) “Greatest University in the World.” They have been under intense pressure from Sacramento and a minority of faculty members to “do something.”

We needn’t point fingers nor cast blame. These are good, hardworking people. Under financial stress good people can make bad decisions. It doesn’t make them bad people.

Who among us hasn’t made a short sighted, unsound decision during financial duress? Does using the equity in one’s house as an ATM card, because “This market is different” ring a bell?

Why don’t we just fix it without pointing fingers?

First: What’s the real problem?

My grandfather used to recite a poem that contained these lines:

You don't go down with a hard, short fall; you just sort of shuffle along,
And lighten your load of the moral code, till you can't tell the right from the wrong
."

That’s what we fear is happening at Cal today. That we are taking a slippery slope towards mediocrity and no one is telling the Golden Bear he has no clothes.

This has been going on for decades. The pursuit of money is clouding our thinking. You can't lose your moral compass in one area and retain it in another.

A former administrator and good friend of mind is telling folks that, as a Former Trustee, it is disloyal and “not constructive” for me to criticize the University we all love.

From my Grandfather’s graduation in 1912 to when my dad played for Doc in the 40’s, till I played for him in the 60’s, to the time my youngest graduated in 2008, we have never NOT supported Cal. If those of us who have proven our loyalty through our pocket books and our devotion are not allowed to speak up and dissent, who is?

Sometimes support comes in the form of pointing out painful truths.

Sometimes that dress does make your butt look big.

It’s part of the code: “Friends don’t let friends wear Speedos.”

And this “Speedo” is truly ugly.

Did you know the huge Rugby Poster in Memorial Stadium was removed before the Cal/UCLA game? Are we going the way of China and the old Soviet Union—erasing pictures from our past and pretending people didn’t exist?

This is much bigger than Rugby. This is about the soul of a (once) great educational institution.

Cal is losing its focus as a land grant university. It is the University of California—nowhere else.

Recently there has been a push to admit more out of state students because they pay higher tuitions. In other words, we’re selling seats in classrooms at the expense of our neighbors’ children. A New Yorker gets chosen over someone from Visalia because he can pay more.

This is not what our University should be about.

At my daughter’s graduation two years ago in the Greek Theater, there wasn’t an American Flag nor a California State Flag anywhere. Need I say more?

You all know the story about my daughter making a “Sock Doll” for her final exam in her Peace and Conflicts class. “Only recyclable materials,” you know—guess that makes it “academic.” This example of dumbing down our University is only one of many. Dozens of other classes like “Peace and Conflict studies” --more Therapy than academic pursuit--are further evidence of our slide into mediocrity.

Money should be saved by cutting ridiculous "classes" like these--not exemplary programs like Rugby.

Failing to recognize Rugby for its pursuit of excellence and rewarding it appropriately is another sign of degrading the values we all used to hold dear.

When Robert Sproul, the Witter brothers and my Grandfather attended Rugby games before the first World War Rugby had been a Varsity sport for more than a quarter of a century. It was the “Biggest Game” on campus.

Under Coach Jack Clark Rugby has won 20 of their 25 National Championships. The kids have high GPA's, graduate, the program is scandal free and embraces diversity. Clearly young men of character, they wear their Big C's proudly, and are the poster child for excellence in any endeavor. They always receive the loudest ovation when introduced at football games. People love what they stand for—what they do for the “Cal Brand.”

By demoting rugby, Cal is punishing excellence in exchange for lucre. That is a bad message to send to children—er students. We should honor excellence wherever we find it!

Had we a physics department which produced Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Valedictorians, would we demote it, no matter the perceived cost savings?

It is interesting that Coach Clark has presented a plan to the University which says in effect, “Rugby will fund itself, and it will fund Women’s Rugby as well.” All we want is to keep our Varsity Status and be recognized for our pursuit of excellence.

Even more interesting is that, Cal is not embracing this. “It’s complicated,” is the response. How can we say we are devoted to Title IX and gender equity if we are turning down an additional sport for women? We Ruggers are willing to grow women’s opportunities and meeting resistance from Cal. This is another sign of mediocrity.

The new Pac 12 contract should net between $10,000,000 and $12,000,000 per school. Before making any cuts, shouldn’t we see exactly what that figure is? Our ESP licensing program is supposed to eventually endow all sports. Shouldn’t we understand how that’s going before we cut sports? Will cutting sports help raise more money?

Rugby is now an Olympic Sport and we’re the premiere program in the country. Don’t we stand to earn revenue based on that?

What puzzles us the most, is why weren’t we alumni allowed to help? Those administrators involved will tell you’ve they’ve been working on this for 18 months. The question another friend posed is: “Why didn’t you do like a judge does in court and say, ‘this is the way I’m leaning. You’ve got 60 days to change my mind?’”

We were never included in the discussion. The Chancellor’s own committee recommended that the University give benchmarks and time tables to the various sports in an attempt to save the $4,000,000 in question by 2014. Why was that not done?

It’s not too late to do that now.

A great friend of mine--A generous and honored Cal Alumnus won’t even have lunch with me to discuss this issue. The Cal family is being split like no time since the 60’s when our school yell went from “Roll on you Bears.” To Ashes to Ashes/Dust to Dust/We hate to close it down/But we must we must.”

Do we really want to fracture alumni support like that again?

E-mails are pouring in as alumni are “re-assessing” their giving depending upon how this plays out. Some officials think they can play rope-a-dope—that there will be a flurry of resentment which will eventually die down. They’re convinced they can outlast it. Alas, it is more likely that this will only spread like a cancer and affect University giving for decades to come.

To say nothing of the already huge loss of good will.

(Think of the Witter family. Perhaps they don’t give as much today as some of our newer donors, but they were giving back when no one else was. Besides Witter Field and the Rugby endowment, they have dozens of scholarships on campus—and we insult them this way).

It’s another sign of descending into mediocrity.

Another line from “The Lure of the Tropics” goes like this:

I started off to be honest, with everything on the square,
But a man can't fool with the Golden Rule in a crowd that won't play fair.
It's a choice of riding a dirty race, or of being an also ran,
My only hope was to steal and dope the horse of the other man
.”

We haven’t played fair with the university. We handcuffed them. We demanded excellence without providing the financial support necessary to achieve it. We, the people of California, didn’t give them the funds. We Alumni didn’t give them the funds to support the sports we cherish. They erred in not giving us the opportunity (though it was one of the Committee’s recommendations) to help them out of this mess.

Hopefully, We’ve both learned a lesson.

Now all we want is the opportunity to make it right. I’m sure all five sports will step up to the plate (if they don’t, fair enough) but Rugby for one is prepared to fund itself and promote Women’s rugby was well.

I hope you will join us in helping Rugby to Save Cal. It is a righteous cause—one worthy of any golden Bear.

Please e-mail the Chancellor chancellor@berkeley.edu
The Athletic Director athletic.director@berkeley.edu
And Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary frankyeary@berkeley.edu
To let them know our thoughts and how you might help.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70
Rugby ‘66-‘68

P.S. My website is jeffwarren.com

If you are on FaceBook and are so inclined, please join “Notes From St. Helena.”
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Notes-From-St-Helena/110582288964667?ref=ts

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

“LOYAL GOLDEN BEARS” R.I.P.

I can see the tombstone now: “Loyal Golden Bears” R.I.P.

Of course, I’m old—a Luddite—an anachronism in today’s world where we actively recruit and yearn to increase the number of out-of-state students, because they return a bigger profit. I come from a time when the University was in place to benefit California Tax payers—not residents of other states to the detriment to my neighbors.

The Chancellor and many in the administration openly boast that over 40% of our students have one parent which is foreign born. As long as kids are getting in on merit, I don’t personally care where their parents are born—as long as they are California residents and tax payers. Isn’t that what Land Grant Universities were originally about?

They say we are running a deficit of $10,000,000 to $13,000,000. They want to get down to $5,000,000 by 2014. So we have to save $5,000,000 to $6,000,000 million.

Well let’s see. Larry Scott, the new president of the Pac 12 is on record as saying that the new TV contract should be north of $100,000,000. I’ve heard (this is unverified) that the current one is $70,000,000 and some expect to double it to $140,000,000. That comes to around $9,000,000 to $12,000,000 per school.

The vaunted championship game (two divisions of six teams—another thing which goes against our grain, but what can we do about it?), will generate around $10,000,000 or about $1,000,000 per school.

Seems to me the creation of the Pac 12 takes care of the Chancellor’s request to save $5,000,000 to $6,000,000 million with another $5,000,000 or so to spare.

Won’t the new Stadium increase revenues? If not, why are we building it?

So what is really going on?

I haven’t a clue. But I can guess.

All the bureaucratic gibberish in the world can’t hide the fact that our University—the Greatest in the world—the one we love so much is punishing and failing to reward Rugby—the poster child for meritocracy in sport at the University level—and I mean at any institution anywhere in the country—-pardon—-world.

The program is clean. The kids graduate. Their G.P.A is outstanding. They give back to the school. They are the face of California—standing proud in their Big C Sweaters. Rugby has no Reggie Bush or even DeSean Jackson scandals.

They give us all this while winning national championships to boot.

Rugby epitomizes the University’s (former) commitment to excellence.

Lack of funds is a University wide problem. It is not limited to athletics. Our University budget is double either what it was 10 years ago or 5 years ago (at my age I can’t remember which). Point is: Are we twice as good as we were back then?

Anyone know what a professor emeritus costs us?

But we should be about academics first and foremost. Were that the case, I could sympathize with the Chancellor.

But these are the facts: My daughter just graduated. For her final in Peace and Conflict Studies, she had to make a sock doll for an Afghan orphanage. I’m happy she’s helping kids, but I’m not sure it’s much of an academic exercise.

In her “Diversity class” each week they would hold “Asian week”, “Black week”, “White Week”, “Gay week” etc. where a representative of that group would stand at the chalk board while members of the class hurled racial epithets and stereotypes which were to be written down.

This is education? And we’re paying for it?

If the Chancellor would cut just those two classes and fire the “professors” and T.A.’s we could have more than enough money to support any shortfall in Rugby.

Also not mentioned were any savings coming from the way the Athletic department does business and monitors expenses. The Chancellor’s advisory committee expressly mentioned:

(1) The lack of budgetary controls within IA ( Intercollegiate Athletics) and the failure of IA to impose discipline on spending by teams and other operations.
I didn’t see any reference to how much we were going to save due to tighter financial oversight. Why? A 10% "tightening" would save a million bucks--20% of the Chancellor's goal.

We have some of the finest athletic teams, across the board, in the country. Rugby is just one of them—-and perhaps our finest example. (I know Water Polo, Crew, and Softball among others would argue—-and perhaps they’re right—-but they ain’t being penalized. We are. What’s being done to baseball is criminal—-but I think some of the major leaguers could step up some.)

The Chancellor released a list of 11 criteria upon which teams were judged and decisions made.

Financial impact
• History of competitive success
• Ability to comply with Title IX and the principles of gender equity
• Donor impact
• Opportunities for NCAA and Pac-10 success
• Contributions to student-athlete diversity
• Student-athlete opportunities
• Utilization of support services
• Contributions to the Directors’ Cup
• Contributions to the Athletic Department mission
• Prevalence of local and regional varsity competition

As to history and tradition, when my Grandfather and Robert Gordon Sproul attended Rugby games together in 1912 the sport had been a varsity sport for 30 years. Have we lost our minds or simply our sense of values?

No need to mention competitive success.

Three of the criteria: Title IX, Pac-10 success, Director’s Cup, we have no control over. In areas which we have control we rate a 10 on a 10 point scale.

To not reward that kind of Meritocracy is “No way to run an Airline.” It’s no way to run a school, an athletic department, a business or a family. We are about rewarding performance and merit—-not punishing it. The Chancellor should set the example.

(I thought the other night, that there is no way a college football team is going to make a game winning field goal in the 4th quarter if it represents an institution which would even consider cutting or punishing a sport as meritorious as Rugby—-but felt it was a bit obtuse for folks to grasp. Now I’m sure of it).

Attitudes start from the top.

In short there is absolutely no justification for cutting Rugby in any way shape or form—-unless something else is going on.

I will leave it to you to figure out what that is, but I thought we were about excellence, not being Equal to UCLA in sports. I thought we were about excellence not parity in expenditures for sports medicine. I thought we were about rewarding excellence at the college level, not making sure everyone gets a trophy.

We are most often referred to as “Loyal old Blues” or “Loyal Golden Bears.” No one talks about the “Loyal Trojans” of SC or “Loyal” Indians (or however they refer to themselves) at Stanford.

“Loyal” isn’t our middle name. It’s our first name. It's a concept the Chancellor hasn't seemed to grasp.

We are not vindictive. We are not pulling our football seats or basketball tickets, or the Warren Family Scholarship for Women’s Tennis. But we're small potatoes. They don't care about us.

I wonder, however, about families like the Witters. I’ve known them all my life. Not only are they the first name in Rugby, but I think they give something like 20 academic scholarships to boot--maybe more--and sue me if it's less.

For generations they have given--often when no one else was. This is an obscene slap in the face to them. Ought they to continue? Seems to me someone has to give them an important reason why.

The Chancellor’s actions are an act of disloyalty to all such loyal golden bears.
He needs to do a 180—-fast—-if he ever wants to earn the moniker Loyal Golden Bear.

It’s one many of us wear proudly.

One can’t expect loyalty without giving it.

This isn’t over.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WILL RUGBY BE CUT?

Saw all the boys (and more girls this week) at the tailgate before the Buffs game. After Keenan Allen, the main topic was Jack Clark’s fear that “Rugby is on the table” to be cut in this brouhaha over Cal Sports and the budget.

No one believed it will happen. I think everyone thought I was panicking and exaggerating. “Typical Warren and his BS,” was the general feeling I got. Nine times out of ten they’d be right.

But today’s Chronicle article lays it out:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/14/SPCB1FDPNN.DTL

Everything’s on the table except Football, Basketball and Women’s Volleyball (requirements for Pac 10 participation). Five to seven sports are apt to be cut (and due to title IX it’s unlikely many will be women’s sports).

Jack had come up for some Cab—er ice tea—last week (You’ve all been invited and brilliant man that he is, Jack couldn’t pass up a good vintage—especially at the price).

Truth is: He scared me. As politely and even handedly (and without rancor) he reiterated that Cal has not come out publicly to say that Rugby will be back at Witter field as soon as the Stadium construction is complete (You all know that Witter field is torn up, partially paved over and being used for offices locker rooms, and as a construction yard. There is also a synthetic turf practice field for Football—unsuitable of course for Rugby, where kids where shorts and no pads).

While football and construction needs have taken over Witter Field, Rugby has been forced to search for High School Fields around the Bay to hold their games and practices over the next few years. Jack (and by extension, Rugby) have been good soldiers and taken this major disruption to the program stoically.

It’s what we’d expect from Ruggers. Especially Jack’s kids.

According to Jack, he met with Athletic Director, Sandy Barbour, in the hopes of getting (what we think is obvious) reassurance that Rugby is not on the block. She was unable to give it—not even a “wink, wink.” According to him, “Everything’s on the table,” she told him. And the decision is coming in the next couple of weeks.

Now by almost every measure Sandy has surpassed all expectations as an AD. And she’s under terrific pressure from Birgeneau to cut that 10 to 13 million dollar deficit down to around 5 mill. Every program will be affected to some degree.

(BTW 10 mill is a “fake figure” because the Athletic department “pays” Cal for every scholarship—in state or out. So we (from gate receipts and TV revenue) give the U $10,000,000 in scholarship money—at retail, $32,000 for out of state kids—but that’s another column).

Relegating Rugby to a club sport is simply unacceptable to some of us.

As the Chancellor’s committee on Intercollegiate Athletics wrote,

“….... the Council agrees that a robust (Intercollegiate Athletic) IA program is compatible with the values of an elite American research university, that it adds a valuable dimension to students' academic and social experiences, and that its part of Berkeley’s specific traditions and histories is worth preserving….It serves as a unique and irreplaceable point of contact with the University's alumni and friends and facilitates cultivation for philanthropic purposes. It thereby promotes loyalty and school spirit on the part of selected donors. (We note that roughly half of the 53 largest individual donors to the campus support IA as a part of their gifts, and that many donors to IA are even more generous in their gifts to academics.)…..is certain that IA directly assists academic fund raising."

As the Chron reported: “Historically, the most successful sports at Cal have been men's rugby, men's crew and men's water polo…”

Well, it turns out Rugby is more than just successful. We are the 4th highest revenue sport (Behind football, Basketball, and Volleyball), and with the current world wide rise in Rugby (in the 2012 Olympics, the Sevens televised nationally, and the World games), TV revenue and overall advertising revenues in Rugby are sure to rise.

We contribute over $100,000 in signage alone, and many of our sponsors have been converted to overall Cal sponsorship.

We are self funded. The endowment, over $5.5 million before the meltdown--and at around $4.5 million today--contributes $250,000 to our $550,000 annual budget. Between signage and the endowment, only around $150,000 comes from the Chancellor’s discretionary fund.

I just received an e-mail that (I won’t mention names until it’s official, but you can guess what family) has agreed to give another $150,000 to Friends of Cal Rugby to cover the difference that the University has to pick up.

It’s redundant for me to mention the degree of excellence that Rugby has brought to Cal. No sport in the entire university does more to develop character, graduate its kids, live up to the ideals of student/athlete competition, and promote the virtues of a World Class Institution of learning than Rugby. It defines "Clean." Only crew comes remotely close—and not co-incidentally, it too is self funded to a great degree.

Sandy’s job is tough. But we should all be aware that if Rugby is cut back to a club, it may appear that $550,000 a year is saved, but that is NOT the reality. It is all perceived reality and not at all the real thing. It’s pure politics. And damaging to the University’s Brand.

The Chron also quoted from the Chancellor’s committee’s report, “….the university's top 138 lifetime donors to the athletic department have given $280 million to sports and $370 million to academics.”

Dan Mogulof said Cal's sports teams are "the tie that binds" alumni to the university, noting, "People make their first foray into philanthropy in athletics, and it goes from there. It's an inseparable part of the whole that is Cal.,,,,, we don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot."

Again from the Chron, “the committee noted a likely "philanthropic blowback" of as much as $25 million if select sports are eliminated on campus. On the other hand, the athletic department anticipates revenue growth with a new television contract for 2011, reflecting the addition of Colorado and Utah to an eventual Pac-12 Conference in 2012.

So where do we come in? The question is, “Does Sandy understand how much Rugby means to us and the University?” From one point of view, with luck, she will hear from no one and then feel that cutting Rugby is no big deal—-at least not to the Alumni who contribute to the University.

If she cuts Rugby back to a “Club Sport” will she be “shooting herself (and the University) in the foot?”

Inquiring minds want to know.

So if you are of a mind, perhaps she should hear from you. Will Cal lose friends if Rugby is cut? Will Cal lose donations to athletics and academics if Rugby is cut? Will Cal shoot itself in the foot if Rugby is cut?

We may have only a week to let her and the Chancellor know the answers to these questions. If they hear from no one, who can fault their decisions?

Sandy Barbour: athletic.director@berkeley.edu 1 510 642-5316

Robert Birgeneau: chancellor@berkeley.edu (Not published in Cal directory)

Jack Clark: clarkj@berkeley.edu 1 510 642-6927

You're all invited for some Cab if you get up to the Napa Valley and want to talk about this more. The price is right--and the vintages exceptional.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

BEARS VS. AGGIES

I first saw the Aggie’s play in the mid fifties. My uncle, Bobby Warren, (who at 75 just retired from the chain gang at all Davis home games) was starting at center. His father had come out from D.C. to watch his son play. Naturally, Bobby hurt his ankle in the first half and was carted off the field in an ambulance.

Only 7 years earlier Bobby went to bed in a deep funk after having heard on the radio that his father had won the election and would be taking the family to DC as President-elect Dewey’s Vice President. Just 13, Bobby didn’t want to leave his friends. When he woke up the next morning, Bobby found that Truman had indeed defeated Dewey and the family would be staying put. He was one happy guy.

I cried throughout the night. It wasn’t so much the loss that hurt, it was mostly because I was 10 months old.

In the small world category, Bears of a certain age will get a kick out of the fact that Bobby’s roommate was Myrel Moore (former linebacker coach under Cosmic Ray and Broncos) and the head coach was Brian’s dad, Ted Forbes. His assistant, Bill Dutton, was the same Wild Bill Dutton who was our D line coach under Ray Willsey (and came back later under Holmoe).

Bobby was in the stands as an over-matched Davis battled gamely against a well prepared Bears squad on Saturday.

The day began (in St. Helena) in bright sunlight. As always, I savored the Green sheet saving the news on the Bears to the last. I printed out some additional on line bits, so I was able to get my game face on before the drive down to the overcast Bay Area. With all due respect to the Aggies, I didn’t feel the edgy anticipation one usually feels on opening day. I like driving to potential upsets--not blow outs.

Found the boys at the usual spot for the Tailgate at Bowles Hall. Is it just my imagination or as we get older, is the number of wives attending decreasing?

Frank Lynch, one tough runner back in the day (also,Trent Dilfer’s dad and Tedford’s good buddy), dropped by. A tall good looking guy predicted in front of witnesses that the score would be 53 to 7. But who’s keeping track?

Just before kickoff Volker and tried I the new tent for the ESP folk located on Maxwell Field at the North end. Kudos to Sandy, Dave, Nate and their crew. They knocked one out of the park. There was beer and wine plus lots of food. Flat screens were judiciously placed and after 5 years of carping, the best seats in the house were “Executive” porta-potties for the ladies. Clean restrooms, as opposed to hot, plastic, unsanitary porta-potties (better suited for construction sites) were a wonderful respite. Thanks to wrist bands, they could be used during the game as well. To hell with the men. For all the ladies what a wonderful improvement.

As Bear fans (and Beer fans) we thank Allah for small favors.

58,000 turned out for the opener. It was festive if a bit subdued.

What did we see? It’s hard to tell. Clearly, young Allen will be playing on Sunday’s. He’s just got “it.” The D line shut them down big time, but they weren’t SC.

Vereen is still the real deal. The dis-enchanted carped about Riley (he had a couple of mental errors) but I thought his decisions were good and his tosses crisp.

It was fun to see Kapp’s kid (a walk on) in there. Knowing how tough his dad was (and he is) how ironic that he received a concussion during a team sanctioned wiffle ball game! Now that he’s cleared to play, my guess is he gets a lot of minutes.

Tavecchio got some distance on his kick offs.

Cameron Jordon is apt to turn some heads.

Tedford had a couple of interesting ethical calls in the 4th quarter. No criticism here, but what does a coach do when he is way up and he has a 4th and short inside their 40? Is it piling on to go for a field goal? Do you go for it and risk running up the score by getting another touch? Do you punt from inside the 40? What is “the coaches code?”

Not sure there is any right answer, but it made for some spirited conversation at the top of section D.

Lots of kids got action. That’s good when one remembers the axiom that it is the 3rd string running back who will cost you the championship. (Remember Adam Walker on the Niners?).

Still, there is no way to know how we will stack up against more formidable foes. We did look well prepared, however, on both sides of the ball. No stupid penalties-- always a good sign.

RG tells me that there will be a Bear-fullo tailgate with Buff and Bear fans joining forces near Stoney’s spot around Boalt. Should be fun this Saturday.

See you there and stop by for some Cab if you are up this way.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70