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Stanford Reduces Sports Dept. Size to Finance Concerns

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As a result of the outbreak, among those affected are higher education sports. On Wednesday, Stanford University announced in an open letter that the school is discontinuing 11 athletic programs due to what they say are limited financial resources. According to the message addressed to the community of Stanford, the school revealed that they are no longer capable of supporting all 36 varsity sports that they cater.

The discontinued eleven sports programs

Stanford University stated that the decision to axe the eleven varsity sports within their athletics department has been consulted with their Board of Trustees. The athletic programs part of the cost-cutting measures of the university are namely: 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. Although Stanford assured that these varsity programs are still able to play for the academic year 2020 to 2021 if ever competitive games are held, which would remain uncertain given the current health crisis. Towards the end of the school year, they should have transitioned to “club status.”

Sizing down due to financial constraints

The letter explained this drastic action to reduce the size of such a “large athletics department” reasoning out that the school’s limited resources were worsened by the pandemic. According to their projection, should competitive games on the coming academic year not allowed due to the outbreak, they could see greater resource bleeding.

Through Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, they divulged that the school have come to a decision only after considering other possible alternatives. The school is known for its prestigious alignment of athletics programs with 12 percent of their students are athletes, a higher figure compared to other colleges. Therefore, it was “a heartbreaking day” for them to have exhausted all other options.

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“We have investigated a wide variety of alternatives—ticket sales, broadcast revenue, university funding, philanthropic support, operating budget reductions and many others—and found them insufficient to meet the magnitude of the financial challenge before us,” the letter reads.

Support beyond the move

More than 240 student-athletes and 22 coaches comprise the mentioned varsity sports programs, with 20 support staff positions. The letter revealed that they heartbreaking news was announced the soonest they arrived at a decision to the affected people, students and coaches, via video conference application Zoom. The university intended for them to hear from them quickly “to provide our student-athletes and staff with much flexibility ad choice as possible.”

Meanwhile, Stanford vowed to continue supporting their students affected by the move by not terminating their scholarships of the athletes until they obtain a degree in Stanford or if ever they decided to pursue sports career elsewhere.

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