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After athletes on the targeted teams filed two federal lawsuits against Stanford University, the university has reinstated the 11 varsity sports programs it cut last July.
The university says negotiations to reinstate the teams were “already far along” and that the decision to keep the 11 sports programs was reached before the legal action.
The 11 teams – men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling — will continue competing as varsity teams at Stanford.
One lawsuit accused the university of misleading athletes and violating their rights, and the second, brought by female athletes, claimed sex discrimination, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said Tuesday’s announcement was independent of the filing and that the university was “disappointed by these suits” because conversations were ongoing. He said the school is pleased to be on a more positive path.
“It’s worth noting that, while we were aware of two lawsuits filed on this subject last week, our discussions with 36 Sports Strong and other constituencies were already far along, and we reached the conclusion we are announcing today independent of their filing,” Tessier-Lavigne said.
He said the school made the decision to keep the sports based on an updated assessment of the financial viability of retaining all 36 teams, stronger interest among alumni willing to pledge funds and an improvement in the financial investment markets over the last 10 months.
“The changing conditions led us to re-evaluate the potential to raise the increased funds necessary to support all 36 teams,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “Based on the circumstances now before us, we believe such an approach can succeed.”