Dear President Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Drell, Director Muir, and Stanford Board of Trustees:
We, the Stanford Men’s Volleyball community, were stunned by the university’s July 8th announcement that it plans to cut our sport after the 2020-2021 school year. We chose Stanford—and have continued to enthusiastically support it—because it lived up to its Athletic Mission Statement to lead by “being the model of success, of universal opportunity, and of unwavering commitment to the ideal of the scholar-athlete.”
While we were given no warning of the decision, we believe that working collaboratively we can find solutions and maintain a thriving, financially robust men’s varsity volleyball program, and that doing so is clearly in Stanford’s best interests. The reasons to keep the program are myriad, but we want to emphasize several that the university may not have been fully aware of or considered when making its original decision.
First, the sport of men’s volleyball is strong and growing in exciting ways. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, boys’ volleyball is the second fastest-growing sport in the country since 2012, with annual growth of approximately 12 percent. Men’s volleyball is also the fastest-growing NCAA sport over the last decade, with more than 80 men’s volleyball teams joining the NCAA ranks. In one of the most exciting developments, it was also recently announced that NCAA men’s volleyball is expanding in 2021 to include a new conference—the Southern Interscholastic Athletic Conference—that includes six historically black colleges and universities. By eliminating the Men’s Volleyball program at the same time that the sport is dramatically expanding its reach and inclusiveness, Stanford is undercutting important progress in the diversity of the sport and forfeiting an opportunity to lead.
Second, men’s volleyball has an extraordinary legacy, both on and off the court. On the court, the program has won two NCAA Division I national championships, has been runner-up three times, and has won eight conference championships. The program has also produced 10 U.S. Olympians—including five gold medalists and three bronze medalists—and 23 U.S. National Team members. Four of the current U.S. National Team members are Stanford Men’s Volleyball alumni. Off the court, five Men’s Volleyball players—one-third of the honorees—have won the Block “S” Honors Award for highest GPA in the athletic department over the last 15 years. Eight of our players have won NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships over the same period. Men’s Volleyball has consistently exemplified the ideal of the scholar-athlete and set a model for the rest of the athletic department to follow.
Finally, we have the support within our community to fund a self-sustaining program that thrives and continues to attract world-class student-athletes to Stanford. Since the university's announcement, the outreach from Men's Volleyball alumni and the broader alumni family has been extraordinary, and we saw more than 30,000 people sign our petition to save the program in less than a week. We have launched a $15 million+ campaign to raise an endowment to support a sustainable, thriving program, and we are confident in our ability to accomplish this goal.
The cancellation of the Men’s Volleyball program is a profound loss to Stanford University’s mission and community. Together, with Stanford, we know that we can find a way to sustain Stanford Men’s Volleyball. Please work with us on a solution so this remarkable program can continue to thrive.
Stanford Men’s Volleyball Alumni and Current Players