Wrestling’s response to the University’s
open letter to the Stanford community and Stanford Athletics family.
Sent to university leadership on Friday, July 10th
On July 8th, our student-athletes, parents, coaches and alumni were both shocked and dismayed by Stanford’s decision to eliminate 11 varsity athletic programs from the nation’s leading athletic department. While we recognize that COVID-19 places a burden of stress and disruption upon each of us, we believe that now is the time for us to come together rather than separate those who have made this university great. Accordingly, we respectfully disagree with the administration’s decision and strongly believe the wrestling program is and should be an indispensable part of Stanford’s varsity athletic offerings moving forward.
Stanford wrestling consistently contributes to the all-around excellence of the athletic department and does so in a fiscally responsible manner. Our program won a conference championship in 2019, has achieved numerous Top 25 NCAA Tournament finishes (as high as 11th) and concluded the 2019-2020 season with a national ranking of 14. With a 2020-2021 pre-season ranking of 15 and a stable of young talent, we are poised for even greater future success. In the classroom, we hold the longest streak in the nation for NCAA Wrestling APR Public Recognition Awards (nine years) while consistently achieving exemplary graduation rates and GPAs. Equally important is the fact that throughout the years, many of our wrestlers represent the first members of their families to attend college and our team contributes meaningfully to the diverse population of student-athletes on campus.
Stanford’s unwavering dedication to both academic and athletic achievement is the standard that other universities aspire to emulate. The university’s steadfast commitment to excellence in all endeavors is what differentiates this institution from its peers. The proposed decision to eliminate successful athletic programs is antithetical to this commitment. During challenging times like these, the Stanford we know would reinforce to the nation that comprehensive excellence and support for exceptional student athletes need not be compromised. We believe it is essential that Stanford refuses to relinquish that which makes it great and continues to support diverse pathways to excellence for all of its students.
This is what we ask. We request a meeting with university leadership to discuss, with open minds, a superior solution. We are committed to bringing our resources and the ingenuity required to preserve the over 100-year history of the sport of wrestling at Stanford, which will address the community, financial and Title IX considerations at hand. We are confident that together we will craft a creative solution that addresses the current constraints.
We believe it is essential that an enduring commitment to a strong and vibrant varsity athletics department at Stanford includes a wrestling program. We look forward to a collaborative, ongoing dialogue and refuse to sacrifice that which makes Stanford great in the face of adversity – innovative solutions to the most difficult problems. It is precisely times like these when we must adapt, persevere and ultimately emerge triumphant, together.
The Student-Athletes, Coaches, Alumni, and Supporters of the Stanford Varsity Wrestling Program