Stanford to Cut 11 Athletic Programs Following 2020-21 Academic Year

In an open letter to the Stanford community and their athletics family, University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Athletic Director Bernard Muir announced the decision to “discontinue” 11 varsity sports programs after the 2020-21 school year.

The sports cut will be men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling. Twenty support staff positions are also being eliminated as part of this realignment.

Also, the letter acknowledges the each sport’s season may not even happen.

“All of these teams will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming 2020-21 seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow it, before they are discontinued at the varsity level.”

What could this mean for Oregon and Oregon State? At the moment, that’s unknown. However, Stanford already had way more varsity sports than both Oregon schools. After the cuts, Stanford still has 25 while Oregon has 20 and Oregon State has 17.

Stanford’s leadership admits the cuts came down “primarily to finances and competitive excellence,” and “the financial model supporting 36 varsity sports is not sustainable … We have calculated that the total incremental funding needed to permanently sustain these 11 sports at a nationally competitive varsity level exceeds $200 million.”

The sports world reacted on Twitter.

NBC Sports’ Tim Layden –

The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman –

ESPN’s Ryan McGee –

Stadium Network’s Brett McMurphy

You can read the full open letter here.

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