Stanford Reverses Decision To Cut 11 Sports Including Synchronized Swimming

Stanford University announced on Tuesday that they will no longer be cutting the 11 sports, including synchronized swimming, that were previously to be cut.

  • Access the full press release here.

The university has cited “an improved financial picture with increased fundraising potential” as the reason for the reversal of the decision. Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne discussed the matter, saying the following:

“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.”

The school originally announced the synchronized swimming, men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, men’s volleyball, and wrestling teams would be cut in July 2020.

The announcement that they won’t be cutting the sports comes a few months after Tessier-Lavigne met with Stanford alumni advocacy group 36 Sports Strong.

The announcement follows legal action taken by student-athletes at Stanford against the school. According to ESPN, members of 8 out of 11 teams that were scheduled to be cut sued Stanford, suggesting that the school misled them towards staying despite knowing that they would be cutting their respective varsity teams.

Another lawsuit that was filed claims that for Stanford to cut the women’s teams would be violating the Title IX law that states “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

According to a press release, Stanford has continued to meet with 36 Sports Strong as well other groups of alumni that are vested in raising private funds to keep the sports teams intact. “We will need to ask for the support of the Cardinal faithful like never before,” said Tessier-Lavigne.

Two members of 36 Sports Strong also contributed their thoughts on the matter:

“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,” said former Stanford men’s basketball and volleyball player Adam Keefe. “I can’t say thank you enough. We appreciate the willingness of Athletic Director Muir and Stanford leadership to consider a new approach, and we’re excited to see what we’ll do together.”

Former women’s basketball team member Jennifer Azzi added “my heart is full of joy for the students who are getting their teams back. How they performed on and off the field represents the very best of Stanford,” “They deserve a lot of credit. And, as an Olympian myself, I hope Stanford’s action will inspire other NCAA schools in their continued support of their Olympic sports programs. I’m eager to see many Cardinal compete this summer, in Paris in 2024, and especially when we host the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.”

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1 year ago

I applaud the Stanford alums who were active in building support financially to restore the programs. UCLA did the same thing several years ago when the UCLA Administration cut Men’s Swimming and Men’s Gymnastics (where the Bruins had won NC’s) and were threatening to cut Men’s Water Polo before strong WP alums and fans came to the rescue financially. UCLA Men’s WP just won a NC this year.
There may be another reason: connect the dots between the recent announcement of a new Pac-12 commissioner who strongly understands the business side of college athletics and wants to have the revenue sports (football and basketball) generate the revenue they’re supposed to. When the revenue sports do their job, all the… Read more »

Tribe Mom
1 year ago

So glad to see this reversal and proud of Save Tribe Swimming and William & Mary for setting the reinstatement precedent. I believe they paved the way for this trend.

The Importer AND Exporter
1 year ago

YES!!!! I had given up my dream of being a Stanford synchro king but that dream can live again!

1 year ago

Very impressed with the Stanford wrestler that won the NCAA Championship and was interviewed wearing “Save Stanford Wrestling” on his shirt. He wrestled the entire season in a black singlet to bring attention to the subject. Everyone needs to advocate for their sport!

Swimmer Steve
1 year ago

Perfectly legal way for rich kids to get into elite schools, sailing.

Reply to  Swimmer Steve
1 year ago

You could say the same about swimming, our sport is definitely not immune to divisions across income lines.

1 year ago

Great news. Still beyond disappointed in them for ever considering that at all. How much money do they need in the endowment. It just looked awful. But the lesson remains. Fundraise like coach Greg did to insulate your program from this ever being a risk again.

1 year ago

It’s a baaad day to be an Ohio State Synchro fan…