2014 Big Game is staying in Memorial Stadium

Ezra Shaw

Breathe everyone. Breathe.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE THAT WAS LEAKED AND RUMORED AND NEVER CONFIRMED IS FINALLY OVER.

Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour released a statement to Cal ticketholders, donors, and all the usual suspects.

Dear Friend of Cal Athletics:

After carefully analyzing a proposal to play the 2014 Big Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, we have concluded that the 2014 game will remain at California Memorial Stadium as scheduled.

In arriving at this decision, we studied a wide range of factors, including the competitive balance of our home schedule, the student-athlete experience and the game-day environment for our fans, as well as short- and long-term financial implications. We reached out to a number of our alumni, students, donors and ticket holders, and we received valuable feedback from them. In addition, many other fans expressed their views, and we listened to — and are grateful for — what they told us. We also consulted frequently with campus leadership. Only then, after considering each of these factors, did we arrive at the conclusion that it is not in Cal’s best interest to move forward with the offer. I would like to thank the Stanford and San Francisco 49er leadership teams for their time and diligence working through this process.

Ultimately, our guiding principle within Cal Athletics is to provide our student-athletes with a world-class collegiate experience, delivering the resources and conditions that enable them to excel both in the classroom and on the field of play. That principle can take many forms — improved or new facilities, academic encouragement and reinforcement, outstanding coaches and support staff, innovative high-performance programs, and much more. In a similar manner, we also deeply respect and value our community of loyal supporters and always consider their interests when analyzing any endeavor. We are convinced that if we maintain a clear focus on student-athletes and our community, we will achieve our goal: an athletic department that is regarded as a national leader.

In order to support our 29-sport program, we will continue to be entrepreneurial and explore new opportunities as well new sources of revenue to best position our teams for success. Within our football program, we still have a desire to create a more balanced schedule with a consistent mix of traditional rivals and recent marquee opponents at home. Although we are passing on this particular opportunity, we remain open to looking at the right set of circumstances in the future — as long as they are consistent with the values and principles that informed this specific decision.

While we continue to consider opportunities to strengthen our financial position, we will not sacrifice our core values to achieve our primary objectives. We remain committed to our student-athletes, our campus community and the ever-strong Cal supporters who prove time and again that they are unquestionably passionate about this University and the Golden Bears.

Thank you for your support, and Go Bears,

Sandy Barbour
Director of Athletics

So the Big Game will not be heading to Santa Clara, which seemed like a pretty inevitable decision given the uproar that ensued when the very idea of the game was floated around Golden Bear Nation. Regardless of whether it would have yielded profit in the short-term for Cal Athletics, those in charge probably would not have survived the outcry.

Still, the idea of a neutral site game in Santa Clara is something worth exploring in the future. It's probably not worth exploring for anything as big as a Stanfurd matchup, but perhaps for big non-conference games or a second-tier rival like an Oregon or Washington, the allure of a game in an NFL stadium would be worth considering.

Or maybe we just play at Memorial and not worry about a few extra dollars. Plenty of options worth exploring.

When would you like to see Cal play in Santa Clara? Is it a feasible option for any other game on the schedule?

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