This spring, Stanford Athletics heads into the season with the pressure of an impending milestone—the next NCAA championship won by a Stanford team will represent the 100th NCAA championship for the university. Currently, the only university with 100 NCAA championships to its name is UCLA.
The 100th NCAA championship will add to the running total of 60 NCAA championships for men’s sports, the third most of any athletic department in the nation, and 39 NCAA championships for women’s, the most of any athletic department.
It is no secret that Stanford Athletics is extraordinary. Over the past three decades in particular, the university has managed to set itself apart from others. Since 1980, Stanford has won the most NCAA championships of any athletic department in the nation.
Indeed, that strength across Stanford athletics is noted by Stanford’s receipt of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Director’s cup. For sixteen years in a row now, Stanford has won the Cup, the NCAA prize awarded annually to the most successful broad-based athletic program in the country. Stanford began that streak only one year after the award’s inception.
In recognition of the 100th NCAA championship, Stanford Athletics is partnering with organizations on campus to create a new website, entitled “Home of Champions.” The current athletic website lists various sports statistics, department records, All-Americans, gold medals, and championship histories.
Kevin Blue, the official spokesperson of Stanford Athletics on the project, remarked that the new site will commemorate the event by “celebrating Stanford’s unique scholar-athlete heritage.”
According to Blue, “Home of Champions” web content will “tell the story of Stanford Athletics in a creative way.”
Additionally, he noted that “Significant emphasis [will be] placed on the fact that our champion athletes are also accomplished scholars and achievers outside of competition.”
“The athletes at Stanford perform at the highest level, but what is more amazing is that, even with all the commitment, pressure, and energy that is put towards their respective sports, they are still able to achieve the highest levels of academic success,” he said.
Athletically, Stanford has continued to compete and thrive nationally, while still maintaining an unrelenting commitment to academic excellence. Stanford currently ranks fifth in the nation for its academic All-Americans, and admissions standards for both athletes and non-athlete students remain stringent.
For the 100th NCAA Championship, Stanford Athletics hopes to specifically highlight Stanford’s unique combination of academic and athletic prowess.
Football player Thomas Keiser ’11 reinforces the image of the academic and athletic talent of Stanford’s scholar athletes. Of Stanford’s athletic programs, he commented, “The caliber of academic excellence of Stanford athletes never ceases to amaze me. My former teammates on the football team alone impressed me with their academic endeavors, and I believe that it is like that for every sport.”
Keiser’s experience with the Stanford athletic department reinforces the emphasis on academic excellence that Stanford athletics hopes to highlight with its 100th NCAA championship celebration.
“It is great to see Stanford’s athletic success…. It shows the rest of the country that being a well-rounded student athlete is possible,” explained Keiser.
Looking to Spring
Stanford enters the 2011 spring season with four NCAA teams ranked first in the country: men’s gymnastics, women’s swimming, women’s tennis, and women’s water polo. Other sports are not far behind; women’s gymnastics and men’s swimming are ranked second, and women’s basketball is ranked third. This year men’s volleyball team is currently ranked fourthin the nation, and they are the defending NCAA champions.
Of the four teams ranked first, women’s swimming will be competing for the NCAA title first on March 19th. They are followed by men’s swimming on March 26, women’s basketball on April 5, men’s and women’s gymnastics on April 15, men’s volleyball on May 7, women’s water polo on May 15, and women’s tennis on May 24.