Taking Another Look at UC Berkeley, Budget Cuts and Title IX

A couple of weeks ago we took a look at how a budget crunch at UC Berkeley might affect the school’s athletic department. Today, we see that a faculty panel has recommended slashing the department’s budgetby a whopping $6 million per year. That same panel says that the school shouldn’t cut any programs, but rather should get to work finding new efficiencies in the budget that would be able to make up the $6 million shortfall.

Robert Gammon, the reporter at the East Bay Express who wrote the story, has doubts that efficiencies alone can make up the gap:

However, a closer examination of the university’s finances raises doubts as to whether efficiency measures alone can shave $6 million a year from the UC Berkeley Athletics Department budget, as the panel suggests. The reason is that, of Cal’s 29 sports teams, 27 of them lose money each year, totaling an average of $10.7 million in annual losses. The only moneymaking sports are football and men’s basketball.


Football and men’s basketball make a lot of money because they sell a lot of tickets, and because they enjoy lucrative television contracts. Both also receive large donations from alumni. By contrast, most UC Berkeley sports programs have trouble attracting spectators and their ticket sales are dismal in comparison. Women’s basketball is the most unprofitable sport; it loses an average of $1.6 million a year.

So what’ the solution? Gammon has taken a look at the numbers and has come to this conclusion:

Because of Title IX and UC Berkeley guidelines for gender equity in sports, it’s unlikely that Cal would eliminate women’s-only sports such as field hockey, lacrosse, and volleyball. Although they lose money, they counter-balance men’s football and rugby. Instead, if UC Berkeley were to cut any sports, it would make more sense to look at programs that include money-losing men’s and women’s teams.

With all due respect to Mr. Gammon, as we pointed out in our original postconcerning the gender balance at the school, there’s absolutely no way that even one women’s team will be cut. If the school were to follow that course, it would almost automatically trigger a Title IX suit on behalf of one or all of the women’s teams affected by the cuts based on proportionality. And if you go into a process like this one wanting to save money, there’s no way you’ll ever follow a course that might result in a costly law suit.

Remember, you need to always consult the data over at the EADA cutting tool before making any projections about cuts in an athletic department. Click here to see the latest data on UC Berkeley to see what we’re talking about.
In short, in a situation like this one where men greatly outnumber women in the athletic department, but not in terms of overall attendance on campus, you’ll always have to cut more male athletes than female athletes in order to avoid triggering proportionality.

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