HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Stanford University announced on Wednesday that they would be cutting 11 sports from their 34-team athletic department after the 2020-21 season because of financial hardships brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The school’s men’s volleyball team is among the main programs getting the axe.
Former Rainbow Warrior setter and current Stanford men’s volleyball assistant coach Daniel Rasay says that the decision will send a shockwave throughout the entire volleyball community.
“I’m hoping that we can fight for our program and we can continue to sponsor Stanford men’s volleyball at the Division I level into the future,” Rasay told Hawaii News Now on Wednesday. “But I think this is a rallying cry for the volleyball community in general.”
With the rise in popularity of boys prep volleyball, the Kailua-Kona native fears that cutting Stanford’s program could jeopardize the opportunities for young athletes with dreams of playing at the next level.
“This could happen at other programs, although boy’s volleyball is growing at the high school level,” Rasay said. “Cutting more men’s volleyball programs at the Division I level could hurt that.”
The 2000 Konawaena graduate knows that volleyball is weaved into the fabric of the 808, and he hopes that moving forward, Division I volleyball programs can be preserved.
“I grew up in Hawaii, where volleyball was a huge part of the culture, and that’s why I fell in love and that’s why I started coaching,” Rasay said. “So as we start to move through this and navigate it, I think we need people in the volleyball community to band together for our program but for men’s volleyball in general.”
Despite today’s news and the restrictions with the ongoing pandemic, Rasay makes sure that he takes care of his current players.
“The reason why we coach is for the student-athletes, and we want what’s best for them,” Rasay said. “We’re treating it like, we got the news but we’re athletes and we’ve got to fight for what we believe in and what we want and we don’t know what the outcome is and that’s just life. You just have to stay in the moment and do what we can in the moment.”
The future is uncertain for the Cardinals’ men’s team, but Rasay doesn’t want other programs to succumb to the same fate as theirs.
“Once you cut a program like Stanford men’s volleyball, it makes it a lot easier to cut other programs too, because they have other schools to compare it to,” said Rasay. “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
The importance of volleyball in Rasay’s life is one of the driving factors in his plea to the volleyball community to rally behind the Stanford men’s team and the preservation of Division I volleyball.
“The impact that volleyball has had on my life and I know it has in Hawaii is huge, it’s humongous.” Rasay said. “So were all in this together, were all on the same team and we all need to fight together and i think that’s what we need moving forward, were not giving up quite yet, you know were going to do everything that we can but we need the support from everyone.”
For now, Rasay and staff prepare for what is now the final season of men’s volleyball at Stanford.