Note to self: Don't mess with Jack Clark.
With the notice early this week that Cal rugby was being relegated from varsity to club status, Coach Clark immediately went on a media blitz to get his program moving back in the right direction. First he expressed his disappointment on the decision with Inside Bay Area.
"Yesterday was the worst day of my life. This almost seems surreal," Clark said. "I've literally woken up every morning of my life for 30 years and tried to bring credit to this university "... tried to make Cal people more proud of Cal.
"And to have my university demote my sport and then aggressively defend the decision, which was my take of yesterday, it rips my heart out."
Primarily, Clark disputes the notion that everything will be basically the same with rugby given varsity club status. He said the team would be required to pay to get services from sports medicine and lift weights at the new High Performance Center.
He also went indepth on the decision with Rugby Magazine, describing how Title IX played a role in the process of letting rugby fall out of varsity status.
The decision to demote rugby was based on Title IX rather than funding. Our head count won't hurt the athletic department’s proportionality numbers in this new “varsity club” tier. This is what I was told in meeting, but by time the press conference rolled around, I heard a lot of coded language to almost sell their decisions. It seemed very politically savvy, staying on message, purposely vague. When they started congratulating each other for their hard work and "courage,” I thought, you’re kidding.
Then he went on Chronicle Live and spoke to Greg Papa about (HT California Golden Blogs).
All we know for sure is Coach Clark isn't going to go down fighting, and his determination to keep the program on its hallowed varsity status is one of the many reasons we're proud he's been representing the Golden Bears three decades running.