An Open Letter to Stanford's Athletic Leadership

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Gentlemen and Provost Drell,

I'm writing you to shed light on your unwillingness to bring back Stanford Wrestling and remind you that this effort to bring back wrestling at Stanford is gaining National exposure. I trust that you are all aware of this.

Not only are you being questioned by former and current athletes it seems your are very much a part of our institutional problems in America. This last weekend, you were also just embarrassed by what should have been a celebration for you. Your very own Athletes wore all black singlets (minus your logo) with one crucial message that stood out: Keep Stanford Wrestling. I trust you took note.

Shane Griffith - after an amazing performance - had every right to come out and question you but instead, like many rational, God-fearing people he took the high road. In doing so, you were exposed. A well-spoken and professional young man - who's mature beyond his years - chose not to say anything negative and thus helped unite the entire National wrestling community against you.

Will you answer?

After an overwhelmingly successful NCAA tournament for Stanford Wrestling you were finally put in the public eye. This reflects poorly on all of you. You were outclassed by a young athlete - which likely runs against your perception of wrestlers. I can't help but think that this National Championship by Shane Griffith disturbs you on multiple levels.

His shirt (Keep Stanford Wrestling) on the other hand spoke much louder than his words and he wore it proudly in front of a National audience. On top of that the crowd - family members of athletes from different schools and all parts of the country - stood together and chanted in unison with a message to you on National television. "KEEP STANFORD WRESTLING".

You didn’t watch the match, you certainly didn’t celebrate it, but you heard about it. And now you privately resent his National Championship - let's be honest. Your Team. Your Coaches. Your Brand. Your legacy. You sit in silence.

You are being called out by athletes, fans and parents from ALL the participating schools and the Nation is now aware. California's leadership very much resembles people like yourselves and is looked down upon by the rest of the country. The reason for this is because people like you refuse to act and do the right thing. You don’t see this however because you live in a bubble and work in one of the richest and softest places on earth.

Wrestling preserves and reflects the grit and resilience that built this country. This strength is carried on by young men and women of all races to remind people like you of what real perseverance looks like. Never forget this.

There have been tweet/threads like this one (below) being shared by many people who are exposing your silence Mr. Bernard Muir. As Stanford's Athletic Director who should be out fighting for a sport that champions young Black men that saw five, five!! (5) Black Americans become National Champions. Instead, you hide from this, offer no public congratulations to a fellow Cardinal (Shane) and you are avoiding a great opportunity to create opportunities for young Black men and Women. This makes you a hypocrite.

NCAA National Wrestling Champions

Mr. Muir - there are proud Black men who oppose you and call this situation "crazy". Daniel Cormier has come out multiple times and has called out all of you decision makers to the carpet. And you hide, in silence. Have a backbone and face those who are questioning you.

There are others that are spreading truth about you and this situation and people are spreading this information against you Mr. Muir and Stanford as a whole. Read this entire Tweet thread below:

Stanford is now in the spotlight whether you all want to be or not. And this says nothing about the backlash you are getting by indirectly denying women an equal opportunity to enjoy and participate in one of the fastest growing sports in the United States - Women’s Wrestling. As you well know, Stanford Wrestling has offered to fund a Women's Wrestling program alongside the men.

Provost Persis Drell, you should be standing up, letting your voice be heard and making it known that Stanford Wrestling has offered to build a Women's Wrestling program. Yet you sit silent when your voice is most needed. What does this say about you Persis Drell? You all see this as a problem that you want to go away instead of embracing it as an opportunity for not only bringing back a 100 year program but opening the door to the future for Women's Wrestling.

Mrs. Drell, your very own Patricia Miranda opposes you on this matter and here's what she has to say about Women's Wrestling and she was happy to add her name to your opposition. Yes, Mrs Drell, a woman fighting for other women. She is strong. You are weak. It's as simple as that.

Patricia Miranda, Wrestler

"On a wrestling mat, skin colors and divided peoples can be pressed together until they are bonded indistinguishable, the actors speaking only in the language of will, resilience, and acceptance of pain. Wresting crowns champions with only one leg, and sometimes those with no limbs at all. Stanford wrestling gave me, a female, the opportunity to test my heart against the men. From the moment I walked into the basement room in Arrillaga with my future teammates, the message was always clear: if I had it in me, any wrestler at Stanford would accept me."


You are all kicking to the curb a 100 year sport at Stanford that is arguably the most inclusive sport in the United States. Here is what your head coach had to say a couple years back at the Stanford Wrestling camp that I took my daughter to. Yes, my daughter, those women that you are denying an equal opportunity by letting go Men’s Wrestling that has offered to build a Women’s program with the money they’ve raised.

This video was long before COVID, riots or any political unrest. It's just what YOUR Coach (Borrelli) believes about wrestling:

By shutting this program down, you are denying the future of other potential young Black athletes (and women) in America - which you (Mr. Muir) are supposedly fighting for? Or are you?

As for the President of the University, Mr Tessier-Lavigne. Not many people in the sports world know who you are - and maybe that's ok. I'm sure you are a busy man and sports represent only one of many responsibilities you have. That said, many of your athletes become lifelong representatives of your University. I would consider this very carefully because the quality of people that the wrestling community is delivering to you is something that should not be overlooked. Take action.

As an owner of a wrestling Gym in Sacramento we have kids of all ages, Girls, Women, Hispanic Coaches, Black wrestlers, Black Coaches, Women Coaches and even two Black Olympians, one of which was an Olympic Coach. I don't cancel programs or classes for stupid (political) reasons.

I would never consider cancelling any programs or classes that have kids and young men and women from all races and backgrounds. And neither have we or would we ever deny equal opportunity for female wrestlers.

In short, you all should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. Even so, you have a unique opportunity to turn this into a positive. Make it so that the team needs to recruit from underprivileged communities, create more of a balance of color, do whatever you need to do in order to save face - but don't cancel this sport. It's far too important to the future of our youth and how we raise our children. Not one of you has probably ever spent any time with a young wrestler. You may want to sit down with a few of them to see what type of people they are. You may find that they better represent Stanford as good, or better than anyone else. We already saw this with Shane Griffith.

Worst of all, you live in the S.F. Bay Area - the world's 19th largest economy, California is the 5th largest! You have more money as a school than some countries do and you claim finances as an original reason to drop the program? This is ridiculous.

Bay Area - 19th largest economy

Your Team then raises the money to fund the program indefinitely and you turn your backs on them. This simple linear narrative alone is enough for people to see through the nonsense and reasoning behind dropping the program. It is also a testament of your poor leadership. Furthermore, you embrace the fact that you live and are a part of the most 'inclusive' land in the country. You claim to stand for those that need help. You apparently fight for those who can't fight for themselves. Women. Minorities. Genders.

It seems these values stop just short of these athletes.

You need to fix this while there is still time and all will be forgotten. Continue down your path of silence and "cancel" mentality and this will all come back to you. Karma will certainly play a role in your lives as you are negatively affecting the future of others.

Wake up and act (like grown up men and women) and do the right thing.

Jim Ivaldi

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