Sept. 23, 2005
Stanford Athletic Director Dr. Ted Leland today announced the addition of Women's Squash as an "emerging varsity sport" for the 2005-06 season. Women's Squash will be added as a full varsity sport beginning in the Fall of 2006, making it the only varsity intercollegiate women's (or men's) squash program on the West Coast.
"With the addition of Mark Talbott as our Director of Squash and the generosity of anonymous donors, who have provided start up funds and a $1 million challenge/match to encourage others to endow the program, we are now in position to elevate women's squash to a varsity program," said Leland. "We are pleased that we can promote opportunities for female student-athletes without reducing opportunities for male student-athletes."
"Our internal studies have shown that adding a women's sport was in our future, but we haven't been in position to move forward until now." said Leland.
The Stanford Athletic Department now supports 35 intercollegiate varsity sports programs, 19 of which are female sports, 15 men's sports and one co-ed sport.
"Not unlike our other programs at Stanford, we expect our women's squash team to be nationally competitive," said Leland. "It will have one of the finest squash facilities in the nation in the new Arrillaga Recreation Center and a nationally renown coach in Mark Talbott. We are excited about the future of the squash program at Stanford."
Talbott, who came to Stanford in 2004 from Yale University, led his team to a 19th place national finish last season in his first year directing the women's squash program. Elevating women's squash from a club to a varsity sport will have a significant impact on the sport nationally, according to Talbott.
"Stanford University is taking a leadership role by adding women's squash as a varsity sport," said Talbott. "It is a tremendous statement for our sport and will have a huge impact across the country. This will allow the top squash players in the country to have an opportunity to compete at a school other than those on the East Coast.
"We're hoping this has a ripple effect and that squash will continue to grow as an intercollegiate sport on the West Coast," he said.
By creating additional opportunities for female student-athletes through a varsity squash program, Stanford continues to advance its commitment to gender equity between its men's and women's sport programs. Stanford continuously monitors and evaluates itself on a Title IX basis. By adding these scholarships, the University further improves financial aid opportunities for women which was already well within the legal requirements set forth by Title IX (which requires the total amount of financial assistance awarded to men and women be substantially proportionate to their participation rates in athletic programs).
"As part of our self-evaluation efforts we use the Title IX template of categories to evaluate ourselves and assess where we are in certain categories," said Leland, who served as co-chairman of the United States Secretary of Education's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics in June, 2002. "We are very proud of our women's athletics program, but we never want to stand still. We aspire to bring opportunities provided to male and female student-athletes closer to 50/50 regardless of their proportional representation in the student population."