11 Stanford teams are being discontinued at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. Five of them are NCAA-sanctioned Division I programs, with six competing under other banners. 240 athletes, 22 coaches, and another 20 athletic staffers will be impacted, Stanford says.
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 are the 11 sports set to be discontinued. Stanford laid out a pretty comprehensive list of factors that went into choosing these 11. A primary one is NCAA-sponsorship. The rowing, sailing, squash, and synchronized swimming teams did not compete in NCAA events.
A lack of sponsorship by the larger NCAA school community was also a factor, as was the issue of travel for some of these programs. “There are only two other Division I field hockey programs on the West Coast, and there are no other fencing, lightweight rowing, sailing, squash or synchronized swimming programs on the West Coast,” the statement reads.
Stanford University announced Wednesday the reduction of varsity athletics programs and staffing. https://t.co/hvZWxzEMRM
— Stanford Athletics (@GoStanford) July 8, 2020
Stanford is one of the wealthiest universities in the country. There will definitely be blowback here, especially with the school’s endowment as of October listed at $27.7 billion.
In the statement, the school explained that the athletics department is largely self-sustaining, and that sponsoring 36 sports, double the average Division I school, is unsustainable.
“While Stanford may be perceived to have limitless resources, the truth is that we do not. In general, Athletics has been a self-sustaining entity on our campus, and we are striving to preserve that model in a time when budgetary support for our academic mission is already under significant stress. Academic and administrative units across the university already have been planning budget cuts of up to 10% in response to the university’s constrained resources as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of Stanford’s endowment is directed toward specific long-term uses, including need-based financial aid for students, and is not available to backfill an ongoing structural budget deficit in a specific department. “
Stanford says that this reduction will allow it to continue to operate its other 25 sports at the level that the school expects.
The school will be honoring the scholarships of all athletes affected, but will also support their decisions to transfer, should they choose to do so.