We Are Back!
Today we made history. All 11 sports that were selected for elimination last summer were fully reinstated today. The full statement from Stanford is available here. The FAQ link is accessible here. While there are lots of unanswered questions, this much is true: Wrestling will continue at Stanford, no strings attached. We are back!
To say that this was a team effort would be the understatement of the century. Literally thousands of people stepped up in meaningful ways, large and small. Incredible humans drew on their time, their talents, their relationships, and their bank accounts to make today possible. Our coaches and wrestlers (and their parents) persevered through unimaginable circumstances to salvage what would become a historic season. And Shane, Sugah-freakin-Shane, Griffith put our message on his chest and our mission on his back for the whole world to see.
All victories come at a cost. And wrestling paid the price this year in losing Coach Borrelli and a year of recruiting. But wrestling lives on at Stanford. And we retain a strong foundation from which to build. One can argue that we are stronger given the level of excitement and engagement from this our community and the broader wrestling community.
Where we've been. Where we're headed.
KSW was formed in the wake of the July 2020 decision with one goal, reinstate Stanford Wrestling. In January of this year, we joined forces with 36 Sports Strong (36SS), a decision that proved critical in getting Stanford to reassess their decision. 36SS was formed with the backing of a marquee list of alumni and quickly grew a petition to continue the teams backed by more than 5,000 alumni and supporters. At the beginning of March, we initiated a dialogue with the school. Over four separate meetings, taking place over April and May, we laid out a vision for a new way to fund varsity teams. We answered questions. We presented our own analysis. We challenged assumptions.
At the same time something amazing was happening. Shane Griffith captured the attention of the college sporting world by winning a national championship. Senior Jacklyn Luu led synchronized swimming to a national title, the Men’s Gymnastics team repeated as NCAA champions taking the winners podium wearing “36 Sports Strong” t-shirts and the Field Hockey team reached the elite-8 in NCAA tournament play, earning gestures of support from their competitors along the way. Four freshman fencers earned All-American honors and the sailing team achieved three top-10 finishes at the ICSA Singlehanded Championships.
What the students were doing in competition combined with our meetings led the school to re-evaluate its decision. There were several factors, including the post-pandemic financial health of the school, the new potential for future alumni involvement and the merits of the new funding model. The key which helped us unlock a solution was Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s, Persis Drell’s and Bernard Muir’s willingness to consider new ideas.
There is still a lot of work to do. In many ways this is just the beginning. Stanford will be launching a new coordinated fundraising campaign that will engage alumni in new ways. TOGETHER, we will work to ensure the financial sustainability of Wrestling and all the reinstated sports. Our pledges will be called on to become donations. Details will follow.
But for now, celebrate and honor what you helped accomplish. We are so very grateful!