BERKELEY -- A construction crew at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday removed two large poles used to support netting behind the goal posts at the north end of the facility after season-ticket holders complained their views were obstructed.
Assistant athletic director Bob Milano Jr., who oversaw the $321 million stadium renovation project, said the Bears' games Saturday against Arizona State and Oct. 6 against UCLA will be played without a net at that end of the stadium.
Milano estimated the cost of the work to be about $10,000.
Eventually, he said, the athletic department plans to install smaller poles and a smaller net to corral kicks at both ends of the stadium.
"The poles were bigger than we'd hoped for," Milano said. "This was built to the current engineers' code for the size of the net we wanted."
The new poles, at least 50 feet tall, are 12 to 14 inches in diameter he said, about twice the width of the old ones, which supported a smaller net. "They'd been there for a while," Milano said. "Who knows if they were even built to any code."
Milano said the athletic department received enough complaints after their first two games in the new stadium to make the changes at the north end, where the Bears sell "gold-zone" season ticket. Most seats in the south end zone are sold to visiting fans, and Milano said Cal heard no concerns from anyone at that end.
The absence of the netting behind the goal posts does not mean free footballs Saturday, Milano said.
"It's a collegiate environment and I think people understand they have to give it back," he said.
A work crew, aided by a crane and a lift, cut the poles down in sections, using a torch.
"If this is one of the minor flaws in the brand new stadium, I think we did pretty good," he said.