The College of William & Mary will reinstate the three women’s athletic programs that were cut in September, the school announced Monday.
Women’s swimming & diving, gymnastics and volleyball have been revitalized, while the four men’s programs that were cut remain that way for the time being.
William & Mary reinstating women’s gymnastics, women’s swimming and women’s volleyball. Four cut men’s sports TBA.
— David Teel (@ByDavidTeel) October 19, 2020
In a press release, William & Mary acknowledged that part of the decision to bring back the programs was due to a possible Title IX violation.
The school announced the cuts of the three women’s programs, along with men’s swimming & diving, men’s gymnastics and men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, on September 3.
“The plan prepared by the Department of Athletics implemented discontinuations to address structural budget deficits exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to begin remedying long-standing gender equity imbalances inconsistent with the requirements of Title IX,” the school wrote in its press release.
“Subsequently, the university received notice of intent to sue on the grounds that the announced plan, including the cuts and the associated roster adjustments in other sports, would not fully meet Title IX standards.
“After a detailed review, Interim Director of Athletics Jeremy Martin concluded that attainment of the anticipated roster adjustments was uncertain and the plan would not achieve equity in participation by next fall. To bring about decisive progress more swiftly, the three women’s sports would need to be restored.”
The school says that reinstating the women’s programs “will make significant progress toward achieving equity in participation in 2021-22”.
As for the men’s programs, it appears as though the cuts that were made will remain that way.
“As a result of today’s announcement and decision, Martin said there is no clear and easy pathway to reinstate the four suspended men’s programs immediately, while making significant progress toward gender proportionality within the department,” the school said.
“We recognize the very substantial challenge but are committed to engaging those who bring substantive solutions,” Martin, who took over Samantha Huge after her resignation, said. “Consistent with our phased approach to decision making under COVID-19, we will move swiftly to lay out the challenge and arrive at a decision for the 2021-2022 academic year.”
The past month and a half has been a trying time for Tribe Athletics, as it was learned that Huge plagiarized part of the school’s announcement of the cuts from a Stanford release earlier in the year. There was also a campaign launched in an attempt to saving the swimming & diving programs.
“We know that this process has caused pain,” Martin said. “We will need to continue rebuilding trust by our actions going forward. We have moved quickly over the last week to meet with students, coaches and alumni groups supporting alternative solutions for all the affected teams. We remain committed to that effort. William & Mary has a long history of emerging even stronger from adversity. With the help of our whole community, we will do just that.”