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.”