Aug. 9, 2004
TORRANCE, Calif.-Lexus has issued the absolute challenge to one of the longest and most storied rivalries in America: Cal versus Stanford. These schools have accepted an athletics challenge and agreed to put their fierce rivalry to the ultimate test in an annual all-sports competition. Beginning this fall, the two prestigious Bay Area universities, whose rivalry dates back to the 19th century, will compete for the Lexus Gauntlet. From now on the bragging rights will go beyond The Big Game and the battle for No. 1 will be a year-long contest. Whenever Cal and Stanford meet in athletic competition the two schools will contend for the all-encompassing Lexus Gauntlet championship. A perpetual trophy will be awarded annually to the university, which has the most successful athletic campaign against its archrival. As the series competition sponsor of every Stanford vs. Cal athletic event, Northern California Lexus Dealers Association will present the prized Gauntlet trophy. "We share the same ambition for excellence," said Mark Templin, vice president of marketing for Lexus. "Lexus is very passionate about its pursuit of perfection in terms of customer satisfaction and the cars we sell. When it comes to intercollegiate rivalries, few equal the magnitude and passion of Stanford vs. Cal. The Northern California Lexus dealers are proud to team with these two fine academic institutions and their champion athletic programs and to support this celebrated rivalry." A scoring system determined by the schools will award points towards the Lexus Gauntlet trophy for every head-to-head meeting between the Cardinal and Bears in each designated varsity sport. Through the joint efforts and cooperation of both Cal and Stanford the point formula was devised to allow both schools to evenly and fairly compete for the Gauntlet crown. The 26 sports are worth a total of 135 points. Ten points are awarded in football with five points awarded to the winner of each sport's season series or, for those sports that don't meet head-to-head, the team that places higher in the conference championship. To win the 150-pound, pewter-gilded trophy outright, 70 points are needed to clinch. If both schools finish with 67.5 points a tiebreaker will be implemented. The Lexus Gauntlet will be awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. - more - As part of Gauntlet program on an annual basis, a student-athlete from each competing university will be recognized for outstanding sportsmanship with a scholarship. The award presentations will take place during festivities surrounding The Big Game. The Lexus Gauntlet evokes its rivalry theme from the powerful declaration of challenge. In medieval times, when one knight wished to challenge another to a duel, he would take off his armored glove - called a gauntlet - and throw it to the ground. If the opposing knight would pick it up, the challenge was accepted and the two rivals would engage in a decisive battle. This is the first time Stanford and Cal have joined forces with a corporate partner for complete rivalry sponsorship. The two universities signed a three-year contract with Lexus, America's best-selling luxury automotive manufacturer. In return Lexus of Northern California will receive prominent sponsorship recognition and promotional opportunities as the leading sponsor of both the Cal and Stanford athletic departments. "The Lexus Gauntlet defines Lexus' commitment to supporting higher education and the academic and athletics endeavors of our dedicated student-athletes," said Cal's director of athletics, Steve Gladstone. They are a proven winner and industry leader and a perfect fit in stature and reputation that this great rivalry brings in terms of quality and class. "Lexus is a welcome addition to this premier rivalry," said Ted Leland, Stanford athletic director. "We look forward to a partnership that will surely accentuate the positives of competition between our two fine institutions and tremendous athletic programs." The two schools will kick off the competition when they meet in men's soccer on Oct. 1, 2004.