The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is opening a Title IX investigation into the University of North Dakota after a March announcement that they would cut of women’s hockey, and both men’s and women’s swimming & diving. A year earlier, UND cut the baseball program as well.
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits educational institutions receiving federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex in any of its education programs, which includes athletics.
The news was first reported on Friday evening by the Grand Forks Herald. who says that the investigation was launched after the OCR received that the school’s sport offering “does not effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes to the extent necessary to provide equal athletic opportunity.”
After the cuts, the school will sponsor 8 men’s programs and 9 women’s programs. The cuts of 4 sports over 2 years eliminated 30.5 women’s scholarships and 10 men’s scholarships, though the school says they’ll reinvest some of those scholarships into other sports.
The hockey program was felt the hardest in the middle of hockey country. The school was represented at the 2014 Olympics by 8 women’s hockey players.
The opening of the investigation does not mean that the OCR has found any fault on the part of North Dakota, just that they have received a complaint and deemed it worthy of further exploration.
“We are aware of the investigation, which was not unexpected,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson said. “We will work with the investigators to answer whatever questions they might have.”
To read more about the complaint, read the full article at the Grand Forks Herald.