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.
Number of varsity sports programs now offered by Pac-12 universities:
Cal – 28
Stanford – 25
ASU – 24
UCLA – 24
USC – 23
Washington – 22
Oregon – 20
Arizona – 20
Utah – 19
Colorado – 17
Oregon State – 17
WSU – 17
**Counts indoor/outdoor track and field as separate teams.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) July 8, 2020
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 –
If Stanford has to drop 11 sports, a lot of college are going to be dropping sports. https://t.co/VUVL7JVJg4
— Tim Layden (@ByTimLayden) July 8, 2020
The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman –
in case you’re wondering how big a deal Olympic sports are at Stanford, here are the all-time results of the NACDA Director’s Cup, the contest where they tally up how schools perform in all combined varsity sports each year pic.twitter.com/zZBkY1IJbA
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) July 8, 2020
ESPN’s Ryan McGee –
If you’ve ever set foot on Stanford’s athletic campus, then you know that there’s an energy there that doesn’t exist anywhere else I’ve been aside from the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Losing 11 sports from that energy is nothing but sad.
— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) July 8, 2020
Stadium Network’s Brett McMurphy
Stanford says the 11 sports cut is final & they can not be brought back even thru individual sports fundraising efforts. Stanford had 36 varsity sports – most schools have about 18 – & has won 25 consecutive Learfield Cups, signifying nation’s best athletic program
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 8, 2020
You can read the full open letter here.