On Wednesday, Stanford University, announced that it will eliminate 11 varsity sports at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic season.
In a statement, Stanford said, “The decision to discontinue these 11 varsity sports programs comes down primarily to finances and competitive excellence. With so many varsity sports and limited financial resources, we would no longer be able to support a world-class athletics experience for our student-athletes without making these changes.” The article continued the explain, the university’s, “Structural deficit emerged several years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The sports that will be eliminated are: 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.
Stanford said it originally projected a $12 million deficit for 2021, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the deficit is expected to grow to a “best case scenario” of $25 million for 2021.
“The financial model supporting 36 varsity sports is not sustainable,” the statement continued. “The average Division I athletics program sponsors 18 varsity sports. In fact, only one university at the Division I FBS level sponsored more varsity sports than Stanford prior to this change, and that institution does so with a significantly larger budget.”
In addition to the teams being eliminated, Stanford said 20 “support staff positions” will also be eliminated.
“This is heartbreaking news to share. These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches. They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements. Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history.”
Stanford, home to the nation’s most successful college athletic department for more than two decades, said it will honor, “All existing athletics scholarship commitments to the student-athletes throughout their undergraduate experiences at Stanford, and we hope they choose to remain on The Farm and earn their Stanford degrees.”