On Campus

Stanford set to cut athletic department amid downturn

With endowments suffering, 13 percent of admin and service staff will be cut

Stanford University has announced it will cut 21 positions in its athletic department because of the economic downturn, while keeping all 35 of its varsity teams and its coaches.

Stanford has one of the biggest athletic departments in the nation, but said the 13 per cent staff reduction from administrative and service areas was necessary because of decline in endowment value and fewer contributions during the recession.

The cuts will take effect this week.

Last month, Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said he expected layoffs to deal with a projected $5 million in lost revenue over the next three years.

Bowlsby said Wednesday that $1.5 million has already been eliminated from the current budget, primarily in administrative areas.

The school has also identified $2.5 million in potential savings from reduced maintenance and travel and by freezing open positions.

In total, the department is cutting $5.4 million, about nine per cent of its operating budget excluding scholarship costs. Bowlsby didn’t rule out future cuts that include eliminating teams or coaches if necessary.

“We are making every effort possible to preserve opportunity for our student-athletes and to protect the quality of our programs,” Bowlsby said in a statement.

“As is the circumstance throughout the Stanford campus, we will continue to assess our budget projections and will make further adjustments as needed which may include programmatic, staff and sports reductions.”

Last year, Stanford captured its 14th consecutive Division I U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup. The recognition is presented annually to the best overall program in each athletic division in the country.

In December, Stanford announced senior administrators would take salary cuts because of the U.S. financial crisis. The university is anticipating a 20 per cent to 30 per cent decline in endowment value this year.

– The Canadian Press

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.