Hit hard by Covid19, Stanford University has decided to cut 11 varsity sports from the school’s athletics program in 2021, the school announced Wednesday.
All of them have existed well outside of the robust revenue landscape in college sports dominated by basketball and football, but those teams and its players at Stanford over the years produced 20 national championships and 27 Olympic medals.
Stanford coaches and athletes notified of the decision through Zoom videoconferences on July 8, and the university published an open letter announcing the decision.
“We felt is was imperative to confront the financial challenge before it worsened, to undertake a deliberate and collaborative decision-making process with our Board of Trustees and campus leadership, and to exhaust all alternatives before making profound changes in our programs, especially during this difficult time. That process has recently come to conclusion,” wrote Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell, and director of athletics Bernard Muir in the open letter.
Several other schools have also dropped several of their non-revenue sports in recent weeks due to Covid-19. But Stanford’s moves are particularly notable given the number of teams involved, and the school’s lengthy track record of competitive and academic success.
Sports Business : Top 65 US Colleges to lose $4 billion if football season gets cancelled
The Covid19 pandemic has created havoc in the US Collegiate sports ecosystem. As more and more college athletic departments cut sports programs, now it has been declared that the 65 universities which make up the Power Five conferences in the United States stand to lose in excess of $4 billion if the upcoming American football season cannot go ahead.
Speaking with ESPN, Dr. Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, laid out a stark scenario of financial ruin for the college sports.
According to the report by ESPN, “Rishe estimates that the 65 Power 5 schools would collectively lose more than $4 billion in football revenues, with at least $1.2 billion of that due to lost ticket revenue.”
The sentiment of financial ruin was also shared by TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati:
“If there’s no football season, or if football season is interrupted or shortened, there will be a massive fallout,” Donati said. “There would have to be massive cutbacks. Could the department go on? Sure. It would probably look smaller. There would potentially be fewer sports and much less programming.”