June 5, 2017

Dear campus community,

We wish to thank the members of the Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics (TFIA) for their diligence and hard work on this most complicated of subjects. The values, principles, findings, and recommendations enunciated in the report are important; campus leadership will now carefully consider them. While the financial challenges facing the campus and Cal Athletics are urgent, the issues are complex, and we must be deliberate in making our decisions. The full report can be found here.

At the same time, we fully endorse two crucial areas of consensus captured in the report’s opening statement. The first echoes our own belief that intercollegiate athletics are an inseparable part of the University of California at Berkeley and an important contributor to the excellence and unique character of our University. The second point of consensus aligns with our conviction that Cal Athletics, as an integral part of the campus, must participate in our efforts to create strong, sustainable financial models for all of our operating units. In this and many other regards we see much commonality between the best interests of the campus and our intercollegiate athletics program.

There is, however, one recommendation that we hope to implement as quickly as possible. An independent review of Cal Athletics financial controls and efficiency of operations and organizational structure could be of significant benefit if it can be completed without undue delay. We will immediately begin to assess options for such a review, and expect to launch that effort in the very near future. Meanwhile, we should also note that as part of the budgeting process for the coming fiscal year, Intercollegiate Athletics is already on course to reduce its deficit by a target of $4.65m, through a combination of new revenues and strategic cuts.

The timing of the report’s completion means that we are beginning to consider its recommendations and findings with only a few weeks left before the transition in the Chancellor’s office at the end of this month. While we will be working closely together and conferring about this report in the weeks to come, it is evident that key decisions cannot be made until after July 1st. In her current role as interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Carol Christ has been deeply immersed in the ongoing efforts to bring the University’s budget into balance. While that has provided her with insight and understanding relevant to Cal Athletics financial issues, there are a number of areas, such as the stadium’s financial model, where the Chancellor Designate intends to gather more detailed historical and contemporary information. By the same token, she wants to hear first-hand from faculty, coaches, alumni, student athletes, and others in order to fully understand their perspectives and solicit their input. Meetings with representatives of these groups are now in the process of being scheduled.

Finally, we want to offer assurance that even as all options remain on the table, no decisions have been made. Yes, our binding commitment to balance the University’s budget by 2020 requires us all to accept that the status quo cannot persist. However, we are determined to ensure that our final decisions are based on our shared values, the best possible data, and with consideration for the perspectives and ideas of all those who care deeply about our University, our campus community, and our students.

 

Sincerely,

Nicholas Dirks

Chancellor

 

Carol Christ

Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Chancellor-designate