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Can university officials demote a team to “club” status to stay compliant with Title IX?
The University of Delaware (UD) demoted the men’s varsity track and cross country team to “club” status, claiming the decision was a financial one.
UD doesn’t have the funds to expand the women’s track and cross country team, according to school officials.
To be compliant with Title IX, schools must be able to show one or more of the following:
- the ratio of women and men competing in athletics match the proportions of undergraduate students attending the university
- a history of expansion of the underrepresented sex’s athletic programs, or
- full accommodation of the underrepresented sex’s interest in athletics.
But members of the men’s team filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), saying UD violated the second and third prongs of Title IX “by arbitrarily demoting the men’s varsity track and cross country team instead of accommodating Title IX’s goal of expansion.”
Since learning about the team’s complaint, school officials have agreed to mediation to try to solve the problem before OCR investigates and issues a ruling.
We’ll keep you posted on the official outcome.
What do you think? Was this smart financial planning or a violation of students’ rights? Chime in below.
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