Stanford University’s athletic teams are named the Cardinal after the teams’ main color, cardinal red.
Reference to the Cardinal started around Stanford football team’s victory over Cal in the first Big Game on March 19th, 1892. Later, Stanford adopted the name Indians in 1930 along with a depiction of a native American as a mascot, often in stylized cartoon form. The Indians name and mascot were dropped in 1972 after opposition from students, including native Americans enrolled at Stanford who considered it an insult to their culture and heritage.
They were then generally known as Stanford Cardinals until 1981 when a majority voted for the name Cardinal in a campus-wide referendum. In November 1981, Stanford University’s President, Donald Kennedy, declared that Stanford athletic teams were represented and symbolized by the color cardinal. In officially clarifying that the name referred to cardinal the color and not the bird, to be used in the singular, Stanford were never thereafter called the Cardinals.