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University of California, Berkeley to eliminate football

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CHICAGO — The University of California, Berkeley, is eliminating football to help balance its budget, athletic director Mike Williams said Thursday.

“It became clear that the costs associated with continued participation in the Power Five conferences outweighed the financial benefits,” Williams said. “Although we were able to comply with NCAA regulations and count it as our cost of attendance, without the additional revenue of football, we no longer felt it was necessary.

“College sports is at a precipice. A review of our student-athlete funding and funding formulas reveal that our university is responsible for far more of the overall costs than colleges in Power Five conferences.”

Williams did not say how much money the school will save by eliminating football, which costs the school about $25 million per year, according to published reports.

In 2014, Cal had the most successful football program in the Pac-12, but had not qualified for the Rose Bowl since 1939. This past season, Cal dropped to 1-10, the program’s worst finish since World War II.

With an operating deficit of $33 million, the school had approved a decrease in its enrollment at the end of 2016 to match state budget caps. “We need to ensure that our student athletes receive the resources they need to succeed in college.” Williams said.

Cal will remain in the Pac-12 Conference, where it is one of the 10 founding members.

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