Stanford cuts 11 varsity sports programs due to COVID-19 pandemic

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford University, home to one of the best collection of sports programs in the United States, announced it is cutting 11 varsity sports teams due to ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stanford cuts 11 varsity sports due to coronavirus pandemic

Stanford became the latest school to make sweeping cuts to its athletic department, joining a growing list of universities cutting sports programs due to the pandemic.

In a letter addressed to the community, Stanford announces dramatic cuts to its intercollegiate athletics program. Unfortunately, citing the financial hardships created by the ongoing crisis, the school will eliminate 11 sports at the end of the 2020-’21 academic year.

Stanford will eliminate 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.

The school, which had carried 36 varsity programs, won the NACDA Directors’ Cup each year since 1994-’95. Awarded by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the honor recognizes a university with the most success in collegiate athletics.

Stanford indicated the size of its athletics department resulted in an economic deficit for several years, which was made significantly worse by the pandemic. The university estimated it would face a $25 million deficit this year, along with a total shortfall of $70 million across the next three fiscal years.

As a result of the decision, more than 240 student-athletes and 22 coaches will no longer be a part of Stanford’s historic athletic department. All persons impacted will be able to play this year, if sports take place, while any scholarships or contracts will be honored.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on college sports

Since COVID-19 started spreading across the United States, it has delivered a crushing blow to collegiate sports.

The NCAA lost out on hundreds of millions in potential revenue after canceling March Madness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of spring sports also led to schools losing out on millions of dollars in stadium revenue.

After losing March Madness, the financial devastation could be even worse for all collegiate sports if there is no football. Power 5 schools are estimated to lose more than $4 billion and that is just part of the economic toll that could be looming.

Sadly, the pandemic has already led to many universities eliminating sports programs. Now with the 2020 college football season looking unlikely, things could get even worse.