Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Wow. At first I was so excited I poured myself a double. Then I had another. Then Cindy (The Goobs) called me down for breakfast.

Rugby had been re-instated as a full fledged varsity sort. I planned to pen a “healing piece” that would be second only to Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural address:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the University’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and …………… do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among administrators and alumni.

It had a nice ring—just the right amount of poetry. And of course it would make moi appear far more wise, gracious, and magnanimous than I actually felt.

Alas, reading the Chancellor’s comments in the paper sobered me up.

This was no win. No athlete can rejoice in temporal victories when his fellow competitors are getting swindled out of their Cal legacies by people who are just passin' through and don't get what it means to be a Bear.

What has happened to the University we all love so much?

Why the slide into mediocrity—the duplicity—the lack of transparency—the lack of cooperation?

Dealing with this current administration has been like dating a sorority girl before the ubiquity of the pill. Each party said it wanted one thing when apparently deep down it wanted just the opposite.

Though I may have relied upon the “You-can-trust-me-I’ll-just-lie-on-the-top-of-the-covers” gambit a time or two, myself, I can’t stand to see it used against my baseball brethren.

And how about the Chancellor’s statement?

The paper said:

“He said he sent a message to athletic department supporters 16 months ago that these cuts might be necessary and little was done to retain them until the announcement was made.

My message engendered virtually no response for an entire year,” he said. “The responses only came after the announcement of the cutting of sports. These sports had a full year to raise funds. But until the actual reality of no longer continuing the varsity sports was on the table, it was not until then that we got this wonderful response that we got now’.”

Hosni Mubarak’s speech writer moved to Berkeley. Who’dda thunk it?

To make matters truly Orwellian, we got an e-mail which said February has been declared Bear Backers Fan Appreciation Month.

Who knew that when Macbeth said “Nothing is but what is not” he was referring to Cal.

Loyal Golden Bears do not distort the truth nor dabble in doublespeak. When the Chancellor “sent a message to athletic supporters 16 months ago” it was that he was forming a commission to decide the best way to deal with financial strains on the Athletic Department. We all waited patiently for the recommendations.

The commission recommended that the department establish benchmarks and timelines for raising money for each sport, to overcome the “problem.”

They never did that.

Worse, they were never specific about what needed to be raised by when. Frank Yeary told me personally in the first week of August it was 100 million. Sandy allowed as how we could do it with 80 million.

Both statements were psycobabble.

Athletic revenues are actually increasing!!

Due to Pac 12 TV contracts and the outstanding success of Oregon and Stanford, (giving each Pac 10 school an unexpected $3,000,000 this year) our cash flow is on the upswing. These contracts will bring in between 6 and 12 million incremental dollars to Cal next year.

Despite the Chancellor, AD, Yeary and Mogoluf claims to the contrary we will be bringing more revenue than ever before.

Of course, we should cut expenses to be prudent. But (I’m not making this up) Sandy told the grid club that with the new Pac 12 conference, expenses would increase as men’s basketball would probably need charters. This is what we are dealing with.

One of the most sordid aspects of this entire fiasco is an e-mail forwarded to me from former Congressmen Pete McClosky. In a totally unselfish act he and some Stanford Alumni joined together to form a Truck Cullom Memorial fund for Rugby.

These are all retired guys without a lot of extra dough.

Here’s the e-mail to Beth, Truck’s daughter:

Beth: It looks like we have struck out on the initiative with Cal. We have a little over $25,000 in the fund, but can't get a letter back from the Chancellor. Can you and your brother do anything, or suggest anything we old Stanford respecters of rugby and your Dad can do? Pete McCloskey

What an insult to a great public servant and war hero.

Why didn’t the University help us raise dough for all five sports? As my friend wrote,

I assume all of you saw the clearly articulated fund raising budget for each sport, the bi-monthly status report on how the fund pledges were going - showing "raised to date" , "still required" etc...... What??? You didn't see that either? Not even a half-assed junior manager in a real business would neglect to stipulate clear goals and metrics for success……”

My friend makes a good point.

Baseball is circulating a letter which purports an amazing amount of skullduggery on the administration’s part. It’s not pretty.

Unmentioned in their letter are the following:

Did you know that money was raised for lights at Edwards but turned down?

Did you know that Berkeley businesses got together to promote Cal Sports (on their own)—did up mock schedules posters etc to place in restaurants and stores—and an e-mail exists where the Athletic Department threatened legal action if they went forward? (I’ve been sitting on this since September in the hopes it wouldn’t be necessary to bring it up).

Did you know that the some of the finest men in the world—former Presidents of the Board of Trustees—worked assiduously, politely, prudently, reasonably with the Chancellor trying to just set up “benchmarks and timelines,” but were effectively shut out—after all their work and donations and hours put in over the past oh so many years?

They found they had no clout. Why?

Did you know The Chancellor has identified 150 major donors who have given at least one million dollars and are capable of giving that much again and he has openly boasted that they are on his side—so the rest of us can pound sand?

So much for power to the people

What he may not be aware of though, is that his original support amongst these donors is weakening—now that everyone has seen how shabbily those who love this school have been treated.

Remember my grandfather’s favorite poem

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.

The University we love has lost its moral compass. It’s promoting classes that make sock dolls for finals; “diversity” classes which (under the guise of academic rigor) require children to go to gay bars and get “picked up” or walk across campus holding hands with members of the same sex; which offer classes in TV series like “Mad Men”, Scrabble and my favorite, Professor Barsky (who led the faculty senate’s attack against athletics), is teaching a class on “Photography of Campus Demonstrations.” Teaching kids to photograph demonstrators! That means the university is subsidizing “snitches” who will be documenting demonstrations for use by the police.

Mubarak’s people are here.

And we’re sending tax dollars their way! (Though they’re taking out of state and foreign kids at the expense of in state kids because they pay more money).

This is why I’ve always maintained this is about helping Rugby to Save Cal.
“When you lighten your load from the moral code, you can’t tell right from wrong.” When excellence is demeaned--when the poster child for excellence (Rugby) gets trifled with—you know the path to mediocrity is the one they’ve chosen.

If we continue to dumb down this school, If we continue on a path towards mediocrity, backed by duplicity, next thing you know we will be scheduling tiny Division 1AA religious schools with student bodies of 1200 kids and names like “Blue Hose”—and saying “Trust me. I’ll keep my pj’s on—this is big time Division 1A football.”

It is better to lose than to win at the sacrifice of an ideal”, Andy Smith