Photo by Cal Athletics

New Facilities Planned for Softball, Beach Volleyball

July 16, 2018
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BERKELEY – Cal’s softball and beach volleyball program will soon have new facilities under a plan announced by Chancellor Carol Christ Monday afternoon.

The improvements will create an upgraded softball field and beach volleyball courts that meet current standards and provide practice and competition space to allow these programs to continue at the elite level.

For softball, the field will be flipped in orientation and enlarged, with the new home plate area near the current left field foul pole. In addition, it will include expanded permanent seating, covered batting cages, locker rooms, a video board, restrooms, field lighting and an elevated press box, among other amenities. Once completed, the softball facility will meet field dimension standards, and Cal will be able to host NCAA Tournament games, something the team is unable to do presently.

The beach volleyball facility will remain on the Clark Kerr Campus, moving to a new location near the intersection of Sports Lane and Dwight Way, and will feature four sand courts, as well as permanent spectator seating, restrooms and a scoreboard. Beach volleyball currently has two courts available with no additional permanent amenities.

“I am pleased that we are embarking on new facilities for our softball and beach volleyball programs, bringing them up to modern standards that will benefit our student-athletes, their fans and our intercollegiate athletics program as a whole,” Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. “Providing equitable facilities for all our student-athletes is essential for us as a university and as a department in order to maintain our commitment to gender equity and the requirements of Title IX that support and protect that essential value. I want to thank Chancellor Christ for her leadership and help identifying funding to help make these projects possible. While we are in the very early stages of a related fundraising campaign, I am already impressed by the interest and enthusiasm I am seeing from our alumni, who have already contributed a pair of six-figure pledges.”

Said softball coach Diane Ninemire: “I am extremely excited for Cal softball and the opportunities a new facility will bring to our program, and I know our players are going to be thrilled. This will help ensure a bright future for us, and I know that student-athletes will see it as a stadium that will allow them to excel on and off the field. Just as important, the facility will put us in position to host NCAA regional games that would give us a home-field advantage. I am very appreciative of the Chancellor, our Athletic Director Jim Knowlton and others within our department who have worked so hard to make this possible.”

“The addition of a new facility will positively impact every aspect of our program,” beach volleyball coach Meagan Owusu said. “We are thankful for the campus giving us this opportunity. Cal beach volleyball has continued to grow every year, and a new facility will give our student-athletes an environment in which they can flourish.”

Before construction begins, each project must be reviewed by the campus and receive budget, design and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) approvals. The review process will occur during the fall of 2018 and campus approvals are anticipated by January 2019. Assuming all remains on schedule, construction is expected to begin in spring or summer of 2019, with work on the volleyball facility estimated to take one year and 15 months estimated for softball.

No state funding or student tuition will be used to finance the projects, Christ said. Instead, the campus will draw from what are known as “undesignated bequests” to cover the majority of the costs, with the athletic department embarking on a capital campaign to raise additional funds.

Statement from Cal Chancellor Carol Christ:

Dear Colleagues,

In my message to campus last March about Cal Athletics, I wrote of our need to improve the training and competition facilities we provide to our women’s softball and beach volleyball teams. With the initial analytical work completed, we recently presented preliminary plans for these projects to the Capital Projects Committee. Due to the significant costs associated with these facility improvements, I am writing to explain how we got here, and what needs to happen going forward.

This issue is first and foremost about our values, specifically the value the University places on gender equity, including access to equitable athletics facilities for our male and female student-athletes. In addition, we must maintain compliance with the provisions of Title IX that support and protect those very same values. After conducting a careful review, I am convinced that if we are to remain true to our moral, ethical and legal commitments we must improve two of our women’s athletics venues. To be clear, the University is not joining the athletics arms race that is occurring throughout the country but rather is working to provide our existing women’s teams with fields, courts, and associated amenities that are similar to what their male counterparts at Cal already enjoy while also meeting our obligations under the law.

Unfortunately, the price tag associated with these necessary facility improvements is extraordinarily high. Initial estimates provided by external consultants with relevant expertise indicate that new softball and beach volleyball facilities will cost approximately $30 million overall. I expect your reaction to this number may be similar to my own: one of concern and dismay. So, I want to share what I have learned about circumstances we cannot wish away.

The current situation is the result of a series of missed opportunities and unfortunate decisions that have accumulated over the years, for which campus and athletics must share responsibility. Simply put, we have a history of insufficient investment in the facilities that support some of our women’s sport programs. As a result, we must proceed with these projects.

The high cost of the projects is driven by their scope. When it comes to equity in facilities the moral and legal comparator is the over-arching level and quality of facilities and amenities that we provide to our men’s teams. So, in that context I am convinced that temporary and/or incremental improvements will not suffice. While the details are not yet finalized, we need to provide our softball and beach volleyball teams with facilities that are commensurate with our men’s facilities. In addition, we must also address long-standing shortcomings in the softball field itself which, in its Strawberry Canyon location, does not have competition-level lighting and does not meet NCAA size requirements for post-season competition. As a result, the entire

field will need to be flipped in orientation and enlarged. In addition, there are the high costs associated with the University’s public-sector project regulatory requirements, as well as high labor expenses for all university-sponsored construction.

After extensive discussion and analysis, I have come to understand that short of discontinuing the softball and beach volleyball programs ---a step I will not take for it stands in dramatic opposition to our values and would likely set the stage for costly litigation – the University must accept the responsibility and the costs necessary to improve the facilities.

There are of course more draconian options, none of which make sense in the context of our university’s identity, mission, principles, relationships and objectives. Reducing the scope of our intercollegiate athletics program to a minimal level would come with its own set of significant costs in terms of participation and developmental opportunities for our student-athletes, the ties that connect us as a campus community, alumni relations, philanthropy for academic and athletics programs, and the threat of litigation. Yet, even in the context of a smaller intercollegiate athletics program inequities in need of correction would persist.

These projects have nothing to do with my recent decision to change the “prong” through which our intercollegiate athletics program complies with Title IX’s equitable participation mandate. We currently comply through Prong III, under which we must fully and effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex. To remain compliant under Prong III, we would be obligated to add women’s intercollegiate sports whenever a request to do so meets the requirements for interest and ability set forth in law. For example, in compliance with Prong III, we added Beach Volleyball as an intercollegiate sport in 2014, and it is likely that additional sports would meet the standards in the future. Under Prong I, on the other hand, a university complies with Title IX’s participation mandate when it provides athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the undergraduate enrollment. I believe that maintaining an athletics program that is substantially proportionate to our undergraduate population is more consistent with Title IX's defining goal of gender equity and comes with the added benefit of better predictability regarding Intercollegiate Athletics’ programmatic scope and financial future.

In terms of financing the anticipated costs, we will not use any state funding or student tuition. Rather, the campus will, as it has in the past when confronted by unanticipated capital expenses, draw from what are known as “undesignated bequests.” I have also been pleased by the results of initial conversations with a select group of donors who have long histories of supporting both academic and athletics programs. Intercollegiate Athletics believes the time is right for a broad fundraising push for the program that would also raise financial support for these intercollegiate athletic facilities that embody and reflect our commitment to gender equity and continued participation opportunities for women on our campus.

I know that this is all hard news in the context of our ongoing financial challenges and the undeniable opportunity costs no matter what the funding sources are. I wish different decisions had been made in the past, but I cannot turn back the clock. I have repeatedly asked senior

administrators and our attorneys to explore additional options, to do more analysis, to scrutinize every aspect of the cost estimates. While I can assure you that I will continue to review every aspect of these projects, the basic contours of what we must do are now in place.

Sincerely,

Carol Christ, Chancellor

Discussion from...

New Facilities Planned for Softball, Beach Volleyball

oasisbear
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This is great news!

Long time coming for the Softball program for sure.

BearinOC
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Definitely much needed good news for Softball. Now for some coaching...
oskirules
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Great news!
DavisBear
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I can't wait to see the designs, hopefully they dress it up a bit (instead of just bleachers). It would be nice to see some chairback seating behind the plate.

It would be great to see them do a nice job on the volleyball venue as well, I think we would have a chance to be a national contender with a nice facility.
GivemTheAxe
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DavisBear said:

I can't wait to see the designs, hopefully they dress it up a bit (instead of just bleachers). It would be nice to see some chairback seating behind the plate.

It would be great to see them do a nice job on the volleyball venue as well, I think we would have a chance to be a national contender with a nice facility.

How about some luxury boxes. I am sure that sales of seat licenses would cover the additional expenses.
Bear19
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I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
Bear19
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GivemTheAxe said:

DavisBear said:

I can't wait to see the designs, hopefully they dress it up a bit (instead of just bleachers). It would be nice to see some chairback seating behind the plate.

It would be great to see them do a nice job on the volleyball venue as well, I think we would have a chance to be a national contender with a nice facility.

How about some luxury boxes. I am sure that sales of seat licenses would cover the additional expenses.
Exactly who do you think is going to pay for "seat license luxury box seats" to watch either of these sports? You're delusional.
socaliganbear
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Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
Bear19
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socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
$30M for women's beach volleyball? Softball? This money is going to go straight down the tubes. Total loss.
socaliganbear
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Bear19 said:

socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
$30M for women's beach volleyball? Softball? This money is going to go straight down the tubes. Total loss.
You thought having those teams was some sort of money maker before this?
Bear19
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socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
$30M for women's beach volleyball? Softball? This money is going to go straight down the tubes. Total loss.
You thought having those teams was some sort of money maker before this?
Of course not. We're spending $30M more, additionally that we don't have on them. Will we get addional numbers of women playing these sports for the $30M to balance Title IX numbers? No. The team sizes will stay the same. The point is that this is not "good news" in any context other than for the future beach volley ball & softball players themselves, who will continue to toil largely in anonymity.
socaliganbear
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Bear19 said:

socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

socaliganbear said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
$30M for women's beach volleyball? Softball? This money is going to go straight down the tubes. Total loss.
You thought having those teams was some sort of money maker before this?
Of course not. We're spending $30M more, additionally that we don't have on them. Will we get addional numbers of women playing these sports for the $30M to balance Title IX numbers? No. The team sizes will stay the same. The point is that this is not "good news" in any context other than for the future beach volley ball & softball players themselves, who will continue to toil largely in anonymity.
It means we're complying with title 9 by providing equitable facilities for women's sports as well. This is the cost of having sports. And bigger picture, the cost of adding revenue sports facilities.
philbert
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socaliganbear said:


The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
can you expand on that? why would that be?
Oski87
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I wonder if there will be TV facilities built into these venues for the Pac 12 network. 30 million seems awfully expensive for a remodel of the softball venue and the new Volleyball courts. Of course, San Volleyball and Softball seem to be staples of the Pac 12 network....
petalumabear
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philbert said:

socaliganbear said:


The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
can you expand on that? why would that be?
TITLE IX.
Cal fell behind on meeting the requirements for women's sports facilities and support (think of the lacrosse team playing their matches @ Stanfurd) and the threat of a lawsuit was real. The lack of attention to the whole Cal sports world was creating significant risk for the AD and Chancellor.

Fortunately, the Chancellor we have now sees the larger picture and has a partner in the newly hired AD who are both willing to take action rather than talk or do nothing.
philbert
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petalumabear said:

philbert said:

socaliganbear said:


The hard choice, is that from what I was told back in.... 2015(?) we weren't getting a basketball facility without addressing some of the other female only deficient (to say the least) facilities on campus. Specifically softball.
can you expand on that? why would that be?
TITLE IX.
Cal fell behind on meeting the requirements for women's sports facilities and support (think of the lacrosse team playing their matches @ Stanfurd) and the threat of a lawsuit was real. The lack of attention to the whole Cal sports world was creating significant risk for the AD and Chancellor.

Fortunately, the Chancellor we have now sees the larger picture and has a partner in the newly hired AD who are both willing to take action rather than talk or do nothing.
Thanks PB. I recall FH suing due to their situation, so I guess it would make sense that the risk of additional lawsuits was there if the men's facilities were upgraded with no attention to any women's facilities.
GMP
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Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
Did you read the letter? She stated specifically where the money is coming from.
Bear19
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GMP said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
Did you read the letter? She stated specifically where the money is coming from.
Yes, I read the press release. Here is what it said:

the campus will draw from what are known as "undesignated bequests" to cover the majority of the costs, with the athletic department embarking on a capital campaign to raise additional funds.

The money is coming from general donations, not from people who donated to specifically support the either of the two sports. This is because there is so little interest or support for either sport no one is donating money specifically for them.

I suppose throwing away $30M on beach volleyball & softball is a "hard" choice; It makes balancing the Athletics budget $30M more dufficult than it already is.
GMP
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Bear19 said:

GMP said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
Did you read the letter? She stated specifically where the money is coming from.
Yes, I read the press release. Here is what it said:

the campus will draw from what are known as "undesignated bequests" to cover the majority of the costs, with the athletic department embarking on a capital campaign to raise additional funds.

The money is coming from general donations, not from people who donated to specifically support the either of the two sports. This is because there is so little interest or support for either sport no one is donating money specifically for them.

I suppose throwing away $30M on beach volleyball & softball is a "hard" choice; It makes balancing the Athletics budget $30M more dufficult than it already is.
I'm not disagreeing with your final conclusion (that it will make it $30M harder to balance the budget, though I imagine they will be able to spread this out over some time? Perhaps not.). If you had said that, I'd not have quibbled. I was merely pointing out that your question ("Where in the world is this money going to come from?") has been answered.

I will also point out you make an unfair conclusion, which I have italicized above. You don't know that the people who made these "undesignated bequests" don't support one or both of these sports, or other sports. It may be that they give money "undesignated" to allow the school to make these sorts of decisions. In fact, it is probably more likely than not that the people donating "undesignated" money in fact support minor sports, like softbal, because otherwise they'd earmark it for football or basketball.

HoopDreams
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DavisBear said:

I can't wait to see the designs, hopefully they dress it up a bit (instead of just bleachers). It would be nice to see some chairback seating behind the plate.

It would be great to see them do a nice job on the volleyball venue as well, I think we would have a chance to be a national contender with a nice facility.

There are seat backs behind home plate today.
SB certainly needs at upgrade (for example to the player facilities and the bleachers behind the outfield (they should be moved to the baselines).
But given the cost, I'm questioning the need for 5000 seats and lights necessary to host NCAA regionals. Seems to me that if we didn't try to do that (requiring the entire field from being flipped) the cost would be half.

Regarding VB. I only went to my first Beach VB matches this year, and I can say that they desperately need an upgrade. But my guess is the cost of what they are talking about is only a fifth or less of the $30M.

socaliganbear
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HoopDreams said:

DavisBear said:

I can't wait to see the designs, hopefully they dress it up a bit (instead of just bleachers). It would be nice to see some chairback seating behind the plate.

It would be great to see them do a nice job on the volleyball venue as well, I think we would have a chance to be a national contender with a nice facility.

There are seat backs behind home plate today.
SB certainly needs at upgrade (for example to the player facilities and the bleachers behind the outfield (they should be moved to the baselines).
But given the cost, I'm questioning the need for 5000 seats and lights necessary to host NCAA regionals. Seems to me that if we didn't try to do that (requiring the entire field from being flipped) the cost would be half.

Regarding VB. I only went to my first Beach VB matches this year, and I can say that they desperately need an upgrade. But my guess is the cost of what they are talking about is only a fifth or less of the $30M.




5M for beach VB.
ColoradoBear
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GMP said:

Bear19 said:

I don't get that this is such "great" news. Maybe for the handful of people who actually want to go to watch these two sports.

I thought the Chancellor & new AD were telling us that we had hard choices ahead to get an ongoing balanced budget for collegiate sports.

$30M for two sports have have no chance to even come close to partially paying for themselves sounds crazy to me. Where in the world is this money going to come from?
Did you read the letter? She stated specifically where the money is coming from.

"Undesignated Bequests" isn't exactly a very descriptive or specific statement for where the money is coming from. The question I have is this coming from somewhere in athletics, or from other funds the chancellor has control over (or both). Birgeneau tapped some kind of 'non state supported' fund to cover athletic deficits, but that still means other projects that might benefit the campus could not be supported. I'd presume it's the same now with the athletics deficit and now extra facilities.

My worry is that if it's coming from 'undesignated' funds on athletics side, sports like MBB will suffer and we won't have the budget to change improve what needs improving. Then, ticket sales fall of a cliff and the deficit is even bigger.

And I believe the AD has a much expanded 'undesignated' fund this year in the "Cal Athletics Fund" as required seat donations for CMS and Haas are now (as of 2018) required to go to the CAF General Fund and cannot be designated to the sports of a donor's choice, even if that's the sport the seats are for.
ColoradoBear
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Oski87 said:

I wonder if there will be TV facilities built into these venues for the Pac 12 network. 30 million seems awfully expensive for a remodel of the softball venue and the new Volleyball courts. Of course, San Volleyball and Softball seem to be staples of the Pac 12 network....
Press box is a requirement of the NCAA to host postseason softball games. I'm sure the facilities will have P12 Network ready facilities. Problem is the p12 Network outside of football produces very little revenue compared to the production costs. That said, I don't think the press box cost is what's driving the large expense. It would be a couple of rooms...
SonomanA1
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ColoradoBear said:

GMP said:

Bear19 said:

"Undesignated Bequests" isn't exactly a very descriptive or specific statement for where the money is coming from. The question I have is this coming from somewhere in athletics, or from other funds the chancellor has control over (or both). Birgeneau tapped some kind of 'non state supported' fund to cover athletic deficits, but that still means other projects that might benefit the campus could not be supported. I'd presume it's the same now with the athletics deficit and now extra facilities.


When I make my annual donation to get better season tickets for football and basketball, it goes to this: Drive
2018 Unrestricted, Program Annual Giving. I think that qualifies as undesignated.
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