California will remain a major league university after all. The school announced Friday that baseball would continue forward thanks to the successful fundraising efforts.
The Bears, with a baseball tradition that dates to 1896, will maintain its Pac-10 (Pac-12 next year) identity and rivalry with Stanford.
"That's fantastic," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said before the Cardinal opened a three-game series at USC. "Everyone in college baseball is thrilled about saving this prestigious program and over 120 years of a rich tradition."
The Axe Trophy originated with the baseball rivarly between the two Bay Area schools.
"We are their biggest rivals and we are thrilled they are back where they should be," Marquess said.
Cal's Herb Benenson reported that former Bears pitcher Stu Gordon presented Chancellor Robert Birgeneau with commitments totaling $9 million.
The fundraising group continues to work diligently to save all the sports Cal had nixed for next year as a prerequisite for saving baseball.
"This is truly an exciting day for Cal baseball," Bears coach David Esquer told Benenson. "I'm especially happy for our players who have endured a difficult six months of uncertainty. They have shown an absolute resolve to focus on their season and have demonstrated a tremendous amount of character throughout this process."
Esquer played shortstop for Marquess at Stanford, helping the Cardinal win a College World Series in the late 80s.
Officials announced the fundraisers are also working with the school to raise significant additional annual resources, beginning with the 2011-12 season.
Baseball, men's gymnastics, women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse were targeted for elimination and rugby was to be relegated to a club sport last September. By February, a group led by Doug Nickle, among others, raised enough to save rugby, women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse.
Friday's announcement assured all teams, with the exception of men's gymnastics, will continue to exist. The university made the decision to cap institutional support for athletics at $5 million a year by 2014.
The Cal men's gymnastics team currently ranks third in the nation behind Oklahoma and Stanford.
Benenson's full story can reached through this link.