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?


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

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