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Stanford Student Athletes Protest Cuts, Call For 11 Varsity Teams To Be Restored

STANFORD (KPIX 5) – Hundreds of student-athletes at Stanford staged a protest outside the school president's office Monday, hoping to convince the university to reverse its decision to cut 11 varsity sports programs.

"It just becomes so much more real when you have a crowd of people who are supporting this effort out in front of the administration, saying 'This is our livelihood, these are our dreams. Please don't cut them. Please listen to us,'" said Claire Smythe, a senior on Stanford's women's lightweight rowing team.

In July, Stanford announced that it was cutting 11 varsity sports teams, including men's and women's fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men's rowing, coed and women's sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men's volleyball and wrestling.

Stanford Athletics Rally
Supporters of recently cut Stanford athletic programs gather outside the university president's office on April 26, 2021. (CBS)

In an open letter to the Stanford community, the university explained that the athletic department was facing a "serious and growing financial challenge" that was exacerbated by the pandemic. In the current fiscal year, university officials estimated they were grappling with a $12-million shortfall.

However, many students say given the size of the university's endowment they question if the cuts were truly necessary.

"With a $29 billion endowment, there is no figure too large to save these 11 communities – these 11 sports – that have been cut," says Kyler Presho who plays on the Men's Volleyball Team.

There is evidence that the student's lobbying campaign may be paying off. The president of the university met behind closed doors with the board of trustees.

A spokesperson for the university says an announcement about whether or not the university can restore some or all of the sports programs will likely be made in the next few weeks.

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