Stanford University said Tuesday it will continue to support 11 varsity sports programs it had targeted to cut by the end of this academic year, according to the group 36 Sports Strong, which had petitioned against dropping the teams.
University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne notified the group Tuesday, saying in essence the 36 Sports Strong petition helped persuade Stanford officials to reinstate all 11 programs.
The 36 Sports Strong leadership team released a statement, expressing gratitude to the university brass for working with the group and crediting the students for their persistent passion.
"President Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Athletic Director Bernard Muir listened and worked with us to find a better way forward for Stanford Athletics. They deserve a lot of credit. We are grateful for their engagement, and we are looking forward to getting to work with them," the statement reads. "Champions persevere, and they find new ways to win. That’s what Stanford has done here.
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"We did this for the students, who never stopped fighting and competed against all odds this year. They made this happen. Today is their day."
In July, citing financial challenges, Stanford announced the following sports would be discontinued: 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 university also said at the time 20 support staff positions in the Athletics Department would be cut.
In that July 8 open letter, university officials said a $12 million budget deficit that existed before the coronavirus pandemic had only been exacerbated by the associated restrictions and economic recession. Officials said that deficit likely would rise to $25 million by fiscal year 2021.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday how Stanford would solve those financial woes.