Stanford men's basketball team had a China Tour in 2016. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Stanford university has decided to discontinue 11 sports programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Stanford university has decided to discontinue 11 sports programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year due to the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The affected programs include men's volleyball, men's and women's fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men's rowing, co-ed and women's sailing, squash, synchronized swimming and wrestling.
According to the provost's open letter that announces the elimination, student athletes sponsored from those programs have already achieved 27 Olympic medals and 20 national championships.
"All of these teams will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming 2020-21 seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow it," the letter read.
However, those teams will no longer exist unless they manage achieve "club status" after they are discontinued at the varsity level.
All existing athletics scholarship commitments to the student athletes throughout their undergraduate experiences at Stanford and the contracts of affected coaches will also be "honored".
Stanford university was supporting 36 varsity sports programs at the same time before announcing this cut down, the breadth of which is among the widest in all United States' Division I universities. The university's more than 850 varsity student athletes consists of 12% of its undergraduate population.
"The financial model supporting 36 varsity sports is not sustainable," the provost's open letter admits. The structural deficit emerged several years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. ■