Stanford athletic officials expect to lose $5 million in revenue in the next three years, and they will do everything in their power to preserve sports, they told coaches and staff Tuesday. They also will decide within two months if they need to reduce staff.
Athletic director Bob Bowlsby told a gathering of department employees that cutting sports and coaches would come only as a last resort, Cardinal squash coach Mark Talbott said. Bowlsby and the department's budget director discussed cutting travel squads and charging for parking at football games as possible solutions to budget shortfalls.
"I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of our budget circumstances. Our consideration of options is ongoing," Bowlsby wrote in an e-mail to MediaNews.
"They may have to cut the budget wherever they can," said Talbott, confirming an Associated Press report about Stanford's financial situation. "There is a chance they may have to do some staff reductions like they've done university wide. But their No. 1 priority is the student-athlete."
With 35 varsity programs, Stanford has gained international acclaim through its athletes. Last year Stanford won its 14th consecutive U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup, awarded to the country's best overall program in each NCAA division.
Also, 47 students and alumni competed at the Beijing Olympics in August. Cardinal athletes brought home eight gold medals, 12 silvers and four bronzes. Among the Olympic stars were former Stanford standouts Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball and Tony Azevedo in water polo.
The economic downturn has affected the university beyond its sports programs. Stanford announced plans in November to cut expenses by slowing construction projects, controlling salaries and perhaps eliminating jobs. Stanford will reduce its $800 million budget by about $45 million, or about 5 percent, in fiscal 2009-2010, university president John Hennessy said at the time.
In December, the school announced that senior administrators would take salary cuts. Provost John Etchemendy and Hennessy volunteered to reduce their salaries by 10 percent.