Finances improved, Stanford saves 11 sports

Mar 20, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Stanford Cardinal wrestler Shane Griffith celebrates after defeating Pittsburgh Panthers wrestler Jake Wentzel in the championship match of the 165 weight class during the finals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford has changed course and won’t eliminate 11 varsity sports as planned, the university announced Tuesday.

Last July, citing financial losses because of the coronavirus pandemic, Stanford said the sports would be cut at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. But an improved financial picture spurred by private fundraising changed things.

“We have new optimism based on new circumstances, including vigorous and broad-based philanthropic interest in Stanford Athletics on the part of our alumni, which have convinced us that raising the increased funds necessary to support all 36 of our varsity teams is an approach that can succeed,” said Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne in a school statement.

The 11 teams that will continue on 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.

“I am thrilled that we have found a way to continue sponsoring these varsity sports, which are an important part of the fabric of this university,” athletic director Bernard Muir said. “I believe the future is extremely bright for Stanford Athletics.”

Adam Keefe, who played basketball for the Cardinal from 1988-92 before a nine-year NBA career, praised the decision. He’s a member of 36 Sports Strong, an alumni group that is part of the fundraising effort.

“Alumni and supporters rallied behind a different solution. The outpouring of goodwill energized this effort, combined with some truly innovative thinking to get us here,” Keefe said.

–Field Level Media