Stanford University just announced it's eliminating a whopping 11 varsity sports after the 2020-21 school year ... and it's all thanks to COVID-19.
The school went public with its decision in an open letter Wednesday ... officially canceling the following programs: men's and women's fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men's rowing, co-ed and women's sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men's volleyball and wrestling.
FYI -- Stanford currently has the second-most varsity sports in the nation with 36 ... 4 sports shy of Harvard.
"This is heartbreaking news to share," Stanford officials said in the letter. "These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches."
"They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements."
The school says it was already anticipating a $12 million deficit in 2021 ... and the pandemic increased its expectation to a $25 million loss ... forcing the cuts.
Stanford says it will honor all scholarships and contracts for the remaining students and coaches if they decide to stay at the school ... and will help those who decide to leave.
So, why these 11 sports?? The school says it took a number of factors into account ... with fan interest and Title IX requirements being part of the decision.
Stanford joins UConn ... which eliminated 4 sports programs last month.