Stanford eliminating 11 of 36 varsity sports

Serra Mall. Photo by Stanford's L.A. Cicero.

By the Daily Post staff

Stanford announced today (July 8) that it is discontinuing 11 of its varsity sports programs and eliminating 20 jobs as a cost-cutting measure.

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 are cancelled at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

The university has 36 varsity teams, but only 11 are being eliminated.

Football and basketball are different from the “varsity teams” and aren’t being cut. The football team is planning to play its first game on Sept. 5, hosting William & Mary. But no information has been released about whether fans will be allowed into the stadium, or whether other precautions will be made due to the pandemic.

However, today the Ivy League schools canceled the fall football season and basketball may start later than usual, CBS Sports reports.

The cuts at Stanford aren’t surprising considering that the university announced in April that it expects to run a $100 million deficit in the current fiscal year, which ends in August. Tessier-Lavigne said in April that the university’s budget deficit could grow next year because of a decrease in revenue and a decrease in the payout that comes from the university’s $27.7 billion endowment amid the country’s recession. The university is making budget plans with the expectation of a 10% fall in revenue and a 15% decrease in endowment payout.

Top administrators are taking pay cuts and the university’s two top officials, Tessier-Lavigne and Drell, will each take a 20% cut.

Tessier-Lavigne made $1,556,669 in 2018, according to a document Stanford filed with the IRS to maintain its tax-exempt status. Drell made $927,005 in 2018.

A FAQ released by Stanford today said that a number of the school’s head coaches — which would include Football Coach David Shaw, Men’s Basketball Coach Jerod Haase and Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer — have taken voluntary pay cuts, but figures weren’t given.

“We are reducing sport and administrative operating budgets to the greatest extent possible, including altering our competition schedules and travel plans for the upcoming academic year. Additionally, the support staff layoffs announced today represent a 10% reduction in our athletics workforce,” the FAQ said. “The primary alternative to this decision would have been a broad and deep reduction in support for all 36 of our varsity sports, including the elimination of scholarships and the erosion of our efforts to attract and retain the high-caliber coaches and staff …”


  1. Add to the university’s financial woes the bill approved by the legislature requiring schools to pay athletes.

  2. If Stanford needs money, I’ve got an idea. Sell scholarships for the sailing program to kids whose grades and SATs didn’t cut it. … Oh, never mind, they did that last year.

  3. I thought Many stanford alumni and students families are super rich and they must be generous enough to support the school financially during the pandemic.

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