Stanford University is drastically cutting down on the number of sports programs at the university. On Wednesday, the school announced that it will be cutting 11 of its 36 varsity sports programs. All of the programs will play their 2020-21 seasons as scheduled — if the coronavirus pandemic allows — before being cut.
The moves are being made in the name of “financial stability.”
A total of 240 student-athletes and 22 coaches will be impacted by the program cuts.
The 11 programs that are set to be cut 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.
“We will do everything we can to support the student-athletes, coaches and support staff members affected by this decision. We 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,” the statement read.
“Should any student choose to continue their collegiate athletics career elsewhere, however, we will support them in every way possible. The contracts of affected coaches will be honored, and any support staff whose employment is ending will be provided with severance pay. All of the affected sports will have the opportunity to transition to club status after they conclude their 2020-21 varsity season.
“We understand that the timing of this announcement, in early summer and against a backdrop of uncertainty and change across our country, is certainly far from ideal, as is the method by which we had to deliver the news to our student-athletes and coaches today, via Zoom. However, we felt it was imperative to confront the financial challenge before it worsened, to undertake a deliberate and collaborative decision-making process with our Board of Trustees and campus leadership, and to exhaust all alternatives before making profound changes in our programs, especially during this difficult time. That process has recently come to conclusion, and we wanted to share the news as quickly as possible in order to provide our student-athletes and staff with as much flexibility and choice as possible. Given the timing, we determined that offering these 11 programs the opportunity for one final season of varsity competition in 2020-21 was the right thing to do.”
The news comes at a time when more and more colleges and universities across the country are cutting athletic programs to lighten the financial burden they have faced during the coronavirus outbreak.