COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following the announcement of all winners, USA Field Hockey is individually highlighting each recipient of USA Field Hockey's 2021 Annual Awards. This week, USA Field Hockey is honored to feature the 2021 National Grow the Game Award winner Stanford Field Hockey Team, Alumni, Family and Friends.
After the announcement in July 2020 that Stanford University was eliminating 11 varsity sports, including field hockey, the Stanford Field Hockey Team, Alumni, Friends and Family rose to the occasion to save the program.
Since the start of the Stanford field hockey program in 1903, it has produced league championships, regular NCAA Division I post-season appearances, NCAA All-Americans, and U.S. Women’s National, Olympic and Masters Team athletes.
The community launched a multi-pronged strategy including persistent advocacy directed to the President and Trustees of Stanford University; public pressure through earned media coverage; legal pressure from athletes and parents filing a lawsuit with Title IX and fraud/non-disclosure claims; and a fundraising campaign yielding $4.48M in pledges.
During the 2020 season (played in the spring 2021), throughout the start of the pandemic and already knowing the program was going to be cut, Stanford advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament Second Round (Elite 8) for the second time in program history. This achievement inspired many alumni, family and friends to fight even harder for the reinstatement. Many other college programs, like UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, Miami and North Carolina, showed their support by wearing Save Stanford Field Hockey t-shirts during warm-up, holding protest banners and standing together in solidarity.
In May 2021, Stanford University relented and announced the immediate reinstatement of all 11 varsity teams.
The reinstatement would not have been possible without the support of 400+ alumni who engaged in advocacy and fundraising efforts; the launch of the Save Stanford Field Hockey website, newsletter, and social communication channels; 19, 961 petition signatures in support; and the backing of 36 Sports Strong, a coalition of alumni from all 36 varsity sports at Stanford, to secure 4,000+ alumni petition signatures, 1,500+ letters to Stanford leadership and 200+ annual alumni donation boycott commitments.
"The groundswell of support from the tight knit field hockey community – from the team, alumni, parents, friends, and other teams and coaches from across the country was remarkable,” commented Alison Smith, one of many Stanford Alumna who helped lead the reinstatement efforts. “The field hockey family recognized how important every team is to grow and preserve the game, particularly on the West Coast, a gateway to further growth, diversity, and inclusion. This award is truly a reflection of teamwork, within and far beyond the Stanford campus."
Congratulations once again to Stanford Field Hockey Team, Alumni, Family and Friends for winning the 2021 USA Field Hockey National Grow the Game Award. Join USA Field Hockey to celebrate and honor all of the 2021 Annual Awards on Saturday, February 5, 2022 at the 100th Anniversary and Hall of Fame Celebration, hosted by the U.S. Field Hockey Foundation, at The Union League of Philadelphia. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.