The university’s decision to end its eleven varsity sports programs has raised many questions. The reasons vary, but one thing is certain: the university faced severe structural financial problems. Despite these challenges, the university opted to reverse its decision to cut athletics due to the efforts of high-profile alumni. In addition, Stanford also faces some public criticism because of the Varsity Blues scandal. As a result, students and alumni have been scrambling to find alternate school options. Many have taken heavy course loads and entered transfer portals. The next few weeks will likely be chaotic.
The school’s decision to cut the 11 varsity sports programs has prompted controversy far beyond its campus. Stanford has won 25 consecutive Directors Cup trophies and is considered an ideal destination for Olympic hopefuls. Stanford also has a rich endowment that could help maintain these sports. While Stanford has made many decisions over the years, the decision to cut the 11 varsity sports programs has drawn intense community reaction. Several high-profile alumni started an alumni advocacy group called 36 Sports Strong, which was fueled by anger over the fact that former student-athletes were not approached about donations.
The cuts to athletics at Stanford are a reaction to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Athletics cut 11 varsity sports programs last summer, resulting in significant financial strains for the university. While the athletics department was able to salvage some of the sports, the cuts still leave many students without a job. Amid these cuts, the athletic department also eliminated 20 support positions. One of the students who were reinstated was Corinne Zanolli.