Last week we caught up with Stanford's Chris Derrick, the distance runner out of Neuqua Valley with Olympic ambitions. We mentioned the Cardinal's rich and varied athletic history, which includes John McEnroe, Tiger Woods and at least one national championship in 33 consecutive years.
But even Stanford isn't immune to the global financial crisis, as Mark Schlabach explains in a fascinating piece for ESPN.com. Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby told Schlabach that he will have to slash $7 million from his department over the next two and a half years. Bowlsby couldn't guarantee that sports won't be cut. Schlabach reports:
Across the country, Stanford isn't alone in its financial difficulties. Many athletic departments are struggling to balance their financial books after receiving less funding from state legislatures and fewer donations from alumni and boosters.
"There are people who have been profoundly affected by the economy and those who haven't been affected at all," Bowlsby said. "I expect the trickle-down will show its effects in sponsorships and multimedia deals and perhaps at the gates at places where tickets aren't in such high demand. We're a long way from the bottom of the well, in my opinion."
Stanford's economic woes are directly tied to the loss in value of its endowments, which are used to cover scholarship funding and other operating costs. In 2008, the Cardinal's athletic endowment was worth about $520 million. But the endowment lost about 20 to 30 percent of its value when the financial markets went south, dropping its current value to about $410 million. The value of the school's general endowment fell from $17.2 billion in 2008 to about $12 billion this fiscal year.