According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the athletics department is facing multi-million dollar deficits and some members of their faculty want the university to stop bailing out athletics.
Here is the opening of the article:
When UC Berkeley lends its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics millions of dollars to pay its bills each year - and even forgives that debt at times - it's helping a top-tier college sports program beloved by thousands of fans.
But a growing number of Cal academics are disturbed by the practice, arguing that the prestigious research university should not subsidize elite athletes at a time of soaring college costs, faculty furloughs and reduced course offerings.
The faculty, which will debate the issue at next month's Faculty Senate meeting, is not alone. Now the independent Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics - formed 20 years ago by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to raise academic standards in college sports - is turning its attention to an out-of-control "arms race" among college football programs competing to pay increasingly high coaches' salaries and other associated costs.
It's pretty fascinating.
I'm actually surprised that a school that sells out its men's basketball games and has its own, on campus football stadium, can't make athletic ends meet. One must wonder if the deal Cal has with Nike is as lucrative as it needs to be -- considering Cal is a ranked football program with a good enough basketball program. Don't misunderstand -- I don't pretend to know anything about their Nike deal or any other revenue source, I'm just speculating based on what I know in general about where funding for athletics comes from.
The whole article is a worthwhile read.