Varsity Sports at Stanford

October 29, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Varsity Sports at Stanford

What are the Varsity Sports at Stanford? Stanford University, which is unrivaled in its achievements and widely regarded as having a preeminent athletic program on the national level, encourages greatness not only in academics but also in athletics. Since the school’s inception in 1891, the administration at Stanford University has held the view that engaging in strenuous physical activity is not only beneficial for the objectives of the institution’s educational mission but that it is also intrinsically worthwhile for its own reason.

Within this context for human development, it is the mission of Stanford’s Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation which handles all Varsity Sports at Stanford, is to offer a wide range of high-quality programs that will encourage and facilitate all participants to realize opportunities for championship athletic participation, physical fitness, health, and overall well-being.

All students have the opportunity to participate in athletics and improve their level of physical fitness through the Departments of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation’s range of programs, which are designed for students with varying degrees of athletic ability and interest. The vast majority of Stanford’s students participate in some aspects of the university’s large array of athletic facilities and opportunities, which include intercollegiate competitions through Varsity Sports at Stanford, club sports, intramural play, and instructional opportunities.

Set of sports equipments placed near the wall.

Each group of Varsity Sports at Stanford has its own distinct culture, set of beliefs, and expectations for members’ behaviors. However, as a department, Stanford Athletics believes that there are some guiding concepts and skills that are necessary for a successful experience and that these talents can be cultivated through involvement in Stanford’s various sports programs. The mission of Stanford University, which is to “Inspire Champions in Life,” is supported by these ideals.

Having a Growth Mindset While Maintaining a Grounded Self-Awareness

  • Creativity–the capacity to think creatively and respond nimbly in an environment that is constantly shifting.
  • Self-Awareness: This refers to the process of cultivating the ability to engage in self-reflection and gain an understanding of one’s own emotions, as well as one’s own strengths, limitations, values, and motivations.
  • Joy is characterized by an upbeat and optimistic mindset, as well as the pursuit of opportunities to recognize the many facets of a person’s contributions to the team and the Stanford community.

Selfless Teamwork

  • Respect for diversity, the ability to prioritize the needs of the team, and the ability to operate democratically and cooperatively in high-pressure circumstances are all required for successful collaboration.
  • Humility entails having genuine esteem for the group or community, acknowledging our little contribution to its overall success, and being willing to play any role necessary to further the objectives of the group or community.
  • Recognizing There Are Only a Limited Number of Spots Available: Attending Stanford requires accepting the meritocracy that results in 95% of applicants being denied admission. Once here, contributing to the Stanford community must substitute self-promotion.

Integrity both individually and collectively

  • High-Integrity Role Model – Understanding the significance of being a good citizen of Stanford, conducting oneself with the utmost integrity, exhibiting the bravery to lead in a manner that is congruent with one’s values, and making the pursuit of excellence a habit that is unrestricted by any limitations.
  • Communication Skills – Both Visual (body language) and Verbal (“open and substantive,” as per Bill Walsh), Effectiveness in Responding to Conflict, and Recognizing the Primacy of Face-to-Face Communication Over Virtual Communication.
  • Responsibility for Personal Success –Acknowledging tradeoffs in each decision, selecting and adhering to priorities.

Superiority over Competitors

  • Resilience entails being able to recover quickly from adversity, having an attitude of thankfulness, and being able to transform adversity into opportunity.
  • Retaining poise, attention, and self-control in the face of intense competition while embracing the importance of outstanding performance in athletic competition and appreciating such excellence.
  • Aspiration: Having a growth attitude while pursuing excellence that is globally relevant. characterized by a very strong work ethic, as well as a commitment to ongoing development, instruction, and education.

What are the different Varsity Sports at Stanford?

What are the different Varsity Sports at Stanford University? The Stanford Cardinal is the team that competes on behalf of Stanford University’s sports department. The Cardinal have maintained one of the most illustrious streaks in all of college athletics, having won at least one NCAA team title for the 45th consecutive season, making this streak the longest active one of its kind in the country.

The success that Varsity Sports at Stanford had in the academic year 2020-21 was remarkable taking into account the shortened seasons that many of its programs had to endure as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the accompanying county restrictions.

Both the women’s basketball team, which defeated Arizona by a score of 54-53 to win its first national championship since 1992, and the men’s gymnastics team, which successfully defended its NCAA crown to win for the seventh time in the school’s history, brought home NCAA titles for the university.

A third national championship was also won by Stanford, this time in the sport of synchronized swimming. The Cardinal’s synchronized swimming team won its ninth title overall and it’s first since 2016 while the competition was being held at Avery Aquatic Center.

The Stanford men’s and women’s water polo teams both won the Capital One Cup, becoming Stanford the only school ever to win both the men’s and women’s titles in the same season. Stanford matched its twin victory achievement from 2017-18 by completing a sweep of the competition.

Stanford came close to repeating its success from 2017–18 and making it a clean sweep of all three national honors but ultimately finished in second place behind Texas in the final standings of the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup. Texas won the race by a narrow margin. The Cardinal had previously won the Directors’ Cup for 25 consecutive seasons, beginning in 1995 and continuing through 2019, with a finish as the runner-up to North Carolina in 1993-1994. The Cardinal finished with a total of 1195.75 points, which was behind Texas’ total of 1252.

During the academic year 2021–2022, Stanford will offer a total of 36 varsity sports, including 20 for women and 16 for men (sailing is a co-ed sport). In addition to the sports teams that compete at the varsity level, Stanford Athletics is responsible for funding campus-wide physical education academic classes, health and wellness programs, aquatics, intramurals, adventure programming, and 33 club sports.

Men’s Varsity Sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Women’s Varsity Sports

  • Artistic Swimming
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Lightweight Rowing
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

Popular Varsity Sports at Stanford

What are the most popular Varsity Sports at Stanford? The first students to attend Stanford University in 1891 participated in a vote to determine the school’s primary and secondary colors. Cardinal red was selected as the primary color, and white was selected as the secondary color.

After Stanford’s victory against California in the first-ever Big Game on March 19, 1892, sportswriters in the San Francisco Chronicle referred to the squad in a metonymic sense as the “Cardinal” the following day. The game was played between Stanford and California. Even after the name “Indians” was officially adopted by the university’s sporting teams, the “Cardinal” and “Cardinals” nicknames were still used to refer to the teams.

Although Stanford does not have an official mascot, a member of the Stanford Band who dresses up as a tree and goes by the name “The Stanford Tree” attends most important Stanford sporting events and cheers on the Cardinal. El Palo Alto, a redwood tree located in neighboring Palo Alto that is included on the Stanford seal and the athletics logo, was an inspiration for “The Tree.” Here are some of the Cardinal varsity sports at Stanford that receive the most attention from fans.


The Stanford Cardinal football team competes in college football at the level of the NCAA Division I FBS and is a member of the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference. The Stanford Cardinal football program represents Stanford University in collegiate football. The name “Cardinal” was chosen for the squad in the offseason leading up to the 1982 campaign.

Since 1892, with very few exceptions, Stanford has competed in the college football season every single year since then. From 1906 to 1917, the school played rugby instead of football, following the lead of a number of other teams from the era that were concerned with the level of violence in the sport. In addition, the university did not field a team in 1918 because of World War I, nor did it do so in 1943, 1944, or 1945. (due to World War II).

View of football field at day time.

In 1902, the university competed in the first-ever Rose Bowl, which was won by Michigan. However, the school was defeated by Michigan 49-0 in the game. The Big Game, which is played annually between the two schools, is the most historic and longest-running rivalry in the Pac-12 and the western United States. The Legends Trophy is an independent competition that the Cardinal compete in against their rivals from Notre Dame.


The Stanford Cardinal men’s and women’s basketball teams both compete for Stanford University, which is located in Stanford, California, in the United States. The school’s athletic team is a member of the Pac-12 Conference at the moment. Both the men’s and women’s teams play their home games at Maples Pavilion. The men’s team is coached by Jerod Haase, and the women’s team is coached by Tara VanDerveer, who is in her 35th season with the Cardinal.

In 1914, Stanford’s men’s basketball team participated in its first intercollegiate varsity competition. The Cardinal has won a total of 14 championships: 13 conference titles (eight in the PCC and five in the Pac-10), the most recent of which came in 2004, and one NCAA title (in 1942). The Premo-Porretta Power Poll and the Helms Athletic Foundation both made the decision to retroactively acknowledge Stanford as the pre-NCAA tournament national champion for the 1936–1937 season.

This decision was made after the NCAA tournament had already taken place. 2014 was the final time the squad participated in the NCAA tournament.

While the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team finished in second place in the national tournament in 2008 and 2010, they won the women’s basketball national title in 1990, 1992, and 2021.


The Stanford Cardinal baseball team competes in NCAA Division I college baseball as the representative team representing Stanford University. The majority of Stanford’s other athletic teams, including the baseball club, compete in the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12). The Cardinal are now coached by David Esquer and play their home games on campus at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. Klein Field is located at the Sunken Diamond.

There have been a total of 31 times that the Cardinal have competed in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, and they have made 16 appearances in the College World Series. They have been victorious at the National Championships on two separate occasions, in 1987 and 1988.


Nine NCAA Championships have been won by the men’s golf team: in 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942 (co-champions), 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007, and 2019. Sandy Tatum (1942), Tiger Woods (1996), and Cameron Wilson are the three individuals who have won the Individual National Championship for their respective sports (2014). They have won 11 titles in the Pac-12 Conference: in 1960, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977 (south), 1992, 1994, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019 respectively.

View of a person golfing.

Shelley Hamlin was victorious in the women’s national intercollegiate individual golf championship in 1971. This competition was run at the time by the Division of Girls and Women’s Sports and eventually evolved into the NCAA women’s golf championship that is held today. In 2015, Stanford University was victorious in the first team match-play competition, taking home the championship title. Rachel Heck was victorious as an individual at the NCAA Championships in 2021. In 2022, Rose Zhang was the individual champion in the NCAA tournament, and Stanford was victorious in the team competition.


The Stanford Cardinal softball team competes in NCAA Division I college softball as the representative team representing Stanford University. The Pac-12 Conference is the league that the team competes. At the helm of the Cardinal’s coaching staff is current incumbent Jessica Allister. On the campus of the university is where you’ll find Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium, which is where the squad plays its home games.

The Cardinal softball team competed in the Women’s College World Series on two separate occasions, in the years 2001 and 2004. The Cardinal athletic program won its lone and only conference championship in 2005 when they shared the PAC-10 title and were crowned co-champions.


Rob Koll is the new head coach of the Stanford Wrestling team. He took over for Jason Borelli, who left to become the head coach of the American University wrestling team in 2021. Borelli became Stanford’s all-time winningest coach after guiding the Cardinal to 122 victories in their 13 years under his direction as head coach. The Weintz Family Wrestling Room is where the Cardinal wrestlers go for practice, and Burnham Pavilion, which has a capacity of around 1,400, is where they compete on campus.

Matt Gentry won the 157-pound national championship in 2004 and Shane Griffith won the 165-pound national championship in 2021 to give Stanford a total of two national titles.

Does Stanford Provide Athletic Scholarships?

Does Stanford Provide Athletic Scholarships? The provision of support that will enable any student-athlete receiving an athletic scholarship at Stanford to finish their undergraduate degree within four years is part of Stanford’s commitment to the student-athletes receiving the scholarship. Fifth-year funding is not guaranteed for any student without previous written consent from the Athletic Director.

In accordance with the regulations of the NCAA, a full athletic scholarship consists of financial support for the student’s tuition, lodging and board, personal expenditures, supplies, travel, health fee, orientation fee, documentation fee, and needed textbooks. Although, Stanford rarely allows student-athletes to accept University need-based help in conjunction with athletic aid. You might want to discuss the possibility of combining the two kinds of assistance with a member of the coaching staff for the sport you play.

A woman opening a letter in a table.

In addition, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) established the Student-Athlete Assistance Fund (SAF) to give student-athletes even more financial support. The Stanford Financial Aid Office assesses the financial need of each student-athlete to determine which benefits the student-athlete is eligible to receive.

Want to learn more about getting into Varsity Sports at Stanford? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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