Stanford plans phased return for varsity sports

In contrast, freshmen, sophomores no longer able to return


Less than 10 days after 11 teams moved into campus housing, Stanford Athletics announced the remaining sports will now move in over a series of four dates, beginning on Jan. 23 and lasting through March 1.

These changes come “amidst a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and lengthening public health restrictions,” according to a Stanford Athletics statement, and come just days after the University canceled plans to bring back the entire frosh and sophomore classes.

“We respect the thoughtful decision-making our county has undertaken to protect public health throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and we have a shared goal of providing for the safety of our community,” said Director of Athletics Bernard Muir in the statement.

The teams that have already returned to campus have been approved to stay, along with students with approved special circumstances. All undergraduates are allowed to apply for housing based on special circumstances, but athletics will not be considered a reason for housing to be granted.

Between the dates of Jan. 4 — when the 11 teams returned to campus — and Jan. 11, five student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19, according to Stanford Athletics spokesperson Brian Risso. All five student-athletes are currently in isolation.

Eleven teams — baseball, beach volleyball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, men’s gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, men’s volleyball and women’s water polo — are scheduled to return to campus on Jan. 23 and 24, the original return dates for all remaining varsity teams.

Field hockey, men’s golf, women’s golf, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, women’s rowing, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are slated to move in on Feb. 13 and 14. 

One week later, on Feb. 21, football will return to campus, and sailing is supposed to return on March 1, finishing the return-to-campus plan for athletics. 

Squash will not compete in 2021, as the College Squash Association canceled the national championship. 

The implementation for this phased approach was made based on “each team’s conference competition schedule, minimum postseason qualification criteria, amount of onboarding and training time required to compete safely and potential for a quarantine period upon their return,” according to the statement.

Onboarding for student-athletes currently requires a 10-day quarantine period if traveling from more than 150 miles away from campus and negative COVID-19 tests on the first and fifth days of the quarantine, in compliance with Santa Clara County guidelines. 

Following the initial quarantine, individual conditioning and other forms of socially distanced training are allowed, provided they are outdoors. All activities that involve contact, aren’t socially distanced or are indoors are currently prohibited.

“We will continue to monitor the conditions and look forward to collaborating with our university administration and Santa Clara County officials on the eventual resumption of athletic competition and contact training under rigorous health and safety standards,” Muir said.

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Jeremy Rubin is a managing editor in the sports section. He is a sophomore from New York City studying Human Biology and is an avid Yankees, Knicks and Jets fan who enjoys long walks and good podcasts. Contact him at jrubin 'at'