Stanford, Facing Pressure, Reverses Plan to Cut 11 Sports

In the months that followed, supporters of these sports, including current college students, alumni, and student parents, had a vocal, organized, and growing 36 Sports Strong Push – Stanford has 36 varsity sports – to raise millions of dollars to raise their programs and theirs Pressure to save the university and keep the sport going. Among those alumni supporters was the Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who played soccer; the golfer Michelle Wie West; and the Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug.

In an effort to self-fund his program before the proposed cuts halt, the men’s volleyball program alone has brought in more than $ 7.7 million in pledges, Jacobs said. Raising so much money in such a short amount of time showed Stanford that there is much more potential for alumni support than the university believed, especially among those not viewed as major donor material.

“We flipped their fundraising model and received tons of commitments under $ 25,000,” said Jacobs, adding that the university will now work with each team to help organize and focus their fundraising initiatives.

Even more pressure on Stanford to reverse its decision came last week when two lawsuits were filed in federal court alleging the university cheated on recruits by failing to tell them their sports could be dropped, and also that Stanford would violate Title IX enactments if the sport was not resumed.

On Tuesday, lawyers for recruits’ lawsuit said they wanted to drop the case over Stanford’s recent ruling. Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, an attorney in the Title IX case, said she wanted to know more details about the university’s plans. “We do not have detailed information on reinstatement conditions and we want to ensure that Stanford will comply with Title IX in the future,” said Peterson-Fisher of The Liu Law Firm.

Last summer, this abrupt change by Stanford seemed implausible, especially when the university repeatedly told the cut teams that the decision was final and that there was no way the programs could fight for their own existence. Many athletes said they questioned the university’s justification for the financial cuts. Stanford had $ 28.9 billion in endowment assets as of August, but officials said money was earmarked for other things. A deficit of $ 70 million was projected for the next three years if the eleven teams were not laid off.

Eliminating men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s fencing, light rowing for women, rowing for men, field hockey, squash, synchronized swimming, wrestling and coed, and sailing for women would save the sports department $ 8 million, the college said. These sports have together won 20 national championships and produced 27 Olympic medalists.

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