William & Mary To Reinstate Women’s Swimming, Gymnastics & Volleyball

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.

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.”

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Jack Morrow
2 years ago

ECU former diver. Mens and Womens Swimming and Diving got the axe May 21st. AD and chancellor said they didn’t want to spend money to bring pool up to Div. 1 standards. NCAA said pool exceeded Div. 1 standards. Then they said money was issue-we raised over $800,000.00 in 4 months to help fund the program-nothing but crickets. I guess our sport with a 66 year winning tradition has worn out it’s welcome at ECU. 2 National Titles, 21 Conference Tirles, 47 All Americans later…….guess we just weren’t good enough. CUrrent had won 4 out of 6 AAC Titles and had a GPA of 3.5 plus. No good deed goes unpunished. Congrats to W and M women and good luck… Read more »

Swim Parent
2 years ago

So the school likely can’t bring back the men’s team without skewing the title IX numbers again. Even so, I’d like to know how much more it would have cost to keep the men’s team? The larger costs related to facilities and coaching now must be covered by the school, so how much more would it take to financially support the men’s team? Seems to be a much smaller monetary difference if they wanted to bring back the men’s team.

Reply to  Swim Parent
2 years ago

Factoring in both the minimal marginal cost to bring back the men’s team AND the reduction in financial support from alums who will reduce/withhold financial support for a women’s only team…. it is actually financially irresponsible for W&M to go forward without a Men’s team.

Vanilla Gorilla
2 years ago

Congrats to the W&M family. What an embarrassment for the athletic administration though. Copy Stanford’s release then goof up the cuts. Ridiculous series of events.

Mark Rauterkus
2 years ago

One viable solution: Pick up men’s and women’s water polo. Another chapter on the same playbook, pick up men’s and women’s triathlon. Likewise, another chapter, pick up OPEN WATER SWIMMING. Might as well keep building our volume with another chapter on competitive lifeguarding, co-ed, recreational industry, job/career readiness, wellness studies.

We need to offer more robust activities around the aquatic venues.

These additional sports need to be cultivated. Some, limited, administrative oversight can go a long way with value to the overall experience.

Of course, student guided leadership is going to be more and more important in the years to come.

Of course, we hope that the club sport of swimming where there can continue to… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

When do the refunds go out for the Tribe swimming donors who gave for the men’s team?

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Hey Ol’ Longhorn, go find another thread to troll, we have this one covered.

Time For Barta To Go
2 years ago

Huge miscalculation – pun intended.

“No amount of fundraising will reverse this decision.” Turns out she was right – it wasn’t fundraising – it was Title IX. So instead, fundraising will restore the others. Sorry Samantha, you didn’t get to cancel the unworthy (re: any sport that doesn’t sell tickets).

Hopefully other athletic directors (* Iowa * cough * Iowa *) will take notice.

2 years ago

Title IX

2 years ago

WM club swimmer here. Seems very hypocritical from my perspective. After the current reinstatement, women will have 10 sports teams, while men will have only 6. This is only because the football team has so many athletes that it tips the balance significantly. In my opinion the William and Mary administration does not actually care about increasing gender diversity: only reason this change came is that they could avoid the lawsuit all together. Would not be surprised if the cut men’s teams attempt a lawsuit of their own. I am very glad that the women’s teams were reinstated, but if equal representation among genders exists in a given sport, you either cut both or keep both, not bring back one… Read more »

Reply to  Ignat
2 years ago

Agreed. But as long as Title IX applies across ALL sports collectively, this will continue to happen (b/c of football). Clearly there’s no gender equity within the sport of swimming.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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