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Stanford has several out gay athletes, school offers tacit support for them

Ryan Mac of Stanford University's student newspaper, the Stanford Daily, has penned a revealing article about the state of gay athletes in the nation's top athletic department. He spoke with a couple female athletes and was even able to talk with Dwight Slater, the former Stanford football player who came out to his team (before subsequently leaving said team). Unfortunately, none of the out male athletes he knows about would talk to him for his story. Mac paints a mixed picture of the athletic department, which seems to hope for a welcoming atmosphere for all athletes but that doesn't do much about it.

While [co-president of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation Holly]Fetter has said that the environment within University locker rooms and on Stanford playing fields has been slow to change, the Athletics Department has taken some initiative. In February, the department welcomed an NCAA-sanctioned speaker to lead a cultural diversity workshop.

Senior Associate Athletics Director Earl Koberlein ‘86 said that sexual orientation in Stanford sports was “not really an issue.” In an email to The Daily, Koberlein stated that the University recruits individuals that can excel academically and athletically, regardless of sexual preference.

“Any student-athlete in need of support is encouraged to meet with Athletics Department or University staffers who can provide needed support, advice and connect them to University resources as appropriate,” he said.

It's kind of a cop-out for the school to say they don't need to do much proactively because "we love everyone." Hopefully they'll do more as other teams and athletic programs reach out proactively to gay athletes.

By the way, while I've been quoted in lots of publications in the past, it's a particular thrill to be quoted in the student daily of my alma mater.