Stanford announced on Wednesday it will discontinue 11 varsity sports at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, including men's and women's fencing, field hockey and men's volleyball.
The discontinued programs will be able to complete their 2020-21 seasons "should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow it," per Stanford. Wrestling, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash and synchronized swimming comprise the other eight programs cut by the university.
"Providing 36 varsity teams with the level of support that they deserve has become a serious and growing financial challenge," Stanford said in a statement. "We now face the reality that significant change is needed to create fiscal stability for Stanford Athletics, and to provide the support we believe is essential for our student-athletes to excel.
"This is heartbreaking news to share. These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches. They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements. Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history."
Stanford's decision follows a number of cuts to athletic programs across the country. 56 Division I sports have been cut in 2020, the most in 14 years, per Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger. 15 tennis programs, five golf programs and five swimming programs lead the cuts.
Stanford will "honor all existing athletics scholarship commitments," for those looking to complete their academic career at the university. Contracts of coaches in discontinued sports will be honored, while support staff members will be provided severance pay.
Athletic programs discontinued by Stanford will be able to transition to club sports after 2020-21.