BERKELEY -- UC Berkeley will eliminate its baseball, men's and women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse teams after this year and will remove funding from the national-champion men's rugby team.

The move, announced Tuesday, is part of the school's attempt to trim a nearly $13 million athletics-department subsidy from the overall campus budget. The cuts will save $4 million in 2011-12, the school said.

The decision will affect 163 athletes, and 13 coaches will lose their jobs. University leaders hope to lower the department subsidy to $5 million by 2014, a number Chancellor Robert Birgeneau has called acceptable.

"This decision was not entered into lightly or in haste," Birgeneau said at a news conference, adding that no other teams would be cut in the near future. "Everyone deeply regrets the human toll these decisions will take."

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said she and others tried to find ways to raise money so they could avoid cuts. In the end, she said, the elimination of several teams "was the best available option."

The university will continue to pay athletic scholarships to the affected students and will help those who want to transfer to other schools, officials said.

The decision leaves UC Berkeley with 24 intercollegiate teams, tied with UCLA for second-most -- behind Stanford's 37 -- in the Pac-10 conference.

The rugby program is, by far, the most successful to be affected by the cuts. The team has won 25 national championships in 30 years, including the 2010 title.

Rugby -- currently a varsity program -- will be designated a varsity club sport, meaning it will still be able to compete but will not receive funding from the university. School officials said the program will still be allowed to use UC Berkeley facilities and services and that they were still trying to figure out the details of the transition.

The team is expected to be self-sufficient by 2014, said Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary.

Rugby players plan to continue to compete for national titles, said All-American senior Blaine Scully.

"This year is going to be no different," he said. "That's all we can control."

The school has fielded a baseball team since 1892. The team has won two national titles -- including at the first College World Series, in 1947 -- but none since 1957. It was 29-25 overall last spring, placing fifth in the Pac-10.

"You would have hoped we could have found a way to sustain ourselves," said baseball coach David Esquer. "We did it for the first 120 years, you wish you could continue it. Apparently, it just didn't seem possible. It's not just us, it's the other sports, as well. For us, it's the biggest thing in our world. But for gymnastics, it's the biggest thing in their world, and for the other sports, as well."

The men's gymnastics team has won four national titles, the last in 1998, and its elimination leaves Stanford as the only Pac-10 school with a program.

Neither the women's gymnastics nor the women's lacrosse team has won a national title or is competitive at a national level.

The announcement comes after a July report by a panel of professors and alumni criticized the school for what it called out-of-control spending on its sports program. The group said an athletics "arms race" had inflated coaching salaries and travel and recruiting expenses.

The department "has been playing by a very different set of budgetary rules from the rest of the campus," the panel wrote, adding that "unacceptable" accounting practices have made financial management nearly impossible. The campus lacks essential information about the department's spending decisions, the report said.

The panel said Birgeneau should consider cutting five to seven teams, but only as a last resort. It also proposed that Birgeneau lead a national push to reform big-time college sports by urging schools to back away from high costs that have made the endeavor particularly difficult for some universities.

Birgeneau told reporters he is poised to begin those conversations. Both he and Barbour are taking on leadership roles in the Pac-10 Conference, they said, giving them something of a bully pulpit on the issue.

University athletic departments nationwide "need to take a very, very hard look at what we're spending and why," Barbour said.

The subsidies to the athletics program have irked those on campus who have watched state budget cuts eat away at academic programs. Many professors and other employees have been torn between criticizing the spending and emphasizing their support for a robust athletics program.

Math professor Calvin Moore, who sat on two committees that advised the chancellor on the athletics issue, said he would like the university to keep trying to make the department completely self-sufficient. He praised Birgeneau for his decisions.

"It's sad and unfortunate, particularly for our student-athletes," Moore said. "But I think it was a wise decision."

Staff writer Jeff Faraudo contributed to this story. Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 925-943-8246.