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Olympic stars talk out about Stanford’s plans to chop 11 sports activities

Two distinguished Stanford Olympians on Thursday referred to as on their alma mater to reinstate the 11 sports activities the college intends to chop on account of funds problems exacerbated by means of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fencer Alexander Massialas and water polo nice Maggie Steffens mentioned all over the digital Olympic media summit that Stanford can create a type the remainder of the rustic can apply.

“Stanford units an instance among the entire different NCAA faculties as to how one can have a success techniques whilst additionally keeping up instructional and athletic excellence throughout each unmarried recreation,” mentioned Massialas, a two-time Olympic medalist in foil.

Soccer and males’s basketball are the 2 main revenue-producing sports activities and get essentially the most sources and a focus at Department I faculties.

“At this time this can be very dire,” Massialas added. “Everybody must recognize the present NCAA type is damaged.”

In July, Stanford officers announced they would cut 11 sports on the finish of this instructional yr. The sports activities are males’s and girls’s fencing, box hockey, light-weight rowing, males’s rowing, co-ed and girls’s crusing, squash, synchronized swimming, males’s volleyball and wrestling.

Prior to now yr, 352 NCAA techniques — most commonly Olympic sports activities — had been minimize, in keeping with ESPN.

Massialas, of San Francisco, used to be a three-time All-American at Stanford who graduated in 2016 with some extent in mechanical engineering. He’s scheduled to compete on the Summer time Olympics in Tokyo in July.

Despite the fact that water polo isn’t probably the most sports activities centered for removing, Steffens, 27, expressed issues concerning the cuts.

“It’s now not all the time about what makes essentially the most cash or what will get placed on TV,” mentioned Steffens, a two-time gold medalist from San Ramon. “That’s what makes the Olympics so wonderful; we get to show off what we do. We get to show off our interest.”

Steffens, who received 3 NCAA titles at Stanford, mentioned collegiate sports activities advertise the well being of the Olympic techniques.

“As a result of they’re now not on TV or well-known or making as a lot cash doesn’t imply the trouble and years aren’t the similar,” mentioned Steffens, regarded as probably the most global’s highest avid gamers heading into the Tokyo Video games.

A gaggle of distinguished alumni introduced a lobbying effort referred to as 36SportsStrong to prevent the sports activities from being minimize. Massialas and Steffens are some of the 3,360 supporters to signal a petition asking college officers to rethink their choice.

The 36 represents the selection of sports activities Stanford has been fielding. The varsity has greater than double the nationwide moderate of sports activities techniques.

One of the well-known alumni supporting the crowd are Andrew Good fortune, Keri Walsh Jennings and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J).

Different prestigious athletics who’ve signed the petition are Jennifer Azzi (basketball), Tony Azevedo (water polo), Bob and Mike Bryan (tennis), Julie Foudy (football), Jessica Mendoza (softball), Mike Messina (baseball), Jordan Morris (football), Summer time Sanders (swimming), Keri Strug (gymnastics) and professional golfer Michelle Wie West, a Stanford grad.

The 11 sports activities scheduled for removing have received a complete of 20 nationwide championships and 27 Olympic medals, in keeping with a Stanford letter to its neighborhood.

The July 8 letter, attributed to college president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell and athletic director Bernard Muir mentioned the athletic division confronted a projected $25 million deficit within the fiscal yr 2021. The executives mentioned they forecast a shortfall of just about $70 million over the following 3 years.

Stanford does now not make up to many different Energy 5 faculties in line with attendance for soccer and males’s basketball. As a personal college, its budgets don’t seem to be publicly to be had.

The placement at Stanford and around the nation led the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in February to shape a Faculty Sports activities Sustainability Assume Tank in the hunt for to search out answers to the monetary disaster.

“Our nation’s distinctive faculty gadget is important now not simply to the well being of our Olympic and Paralympic groups, however to the longstanding energy of sports activities throughout our nation,” USOPC leader govt Sarah Hirshland mentioned in a remark. “Now could be the time to collect leaders who’re captivated with conserving this ecosystem sturdy for nowadays’s athletes and for the generations to return.”

The gang, 36SportsStrong, is scheduled to meet with Tessier-Lavigne and different leaders on the college on Tuesday, in keeping with an e-mail despatched to this information group.

“When the cuts have been introduced probably the most first ideas I had used to be this is able to be devastating now not handiest to the fencing pipeline, now not handiest as a result of Stanford has sturdy techniques at the West Coast for fencing” however to the rustic,” Massialas mentioned.

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