Clemson to reinstate men’s track teams, conduct Title IX review, add female sport | #students | #parents


Clemson University Athletics announced it will add a female sports team and reinstate the men’s track, field and cross country teams, reversing a decision that prompted months of protests, complaints and threats of legal action.
“This is the right decision for our University, our Department of Athletics and, most importantly, for the young men and women who proudly wear the Clemson uniform,” Clemson Pres. Jim Clements said in a release. 
The university will also conduct a Title IX gender equity report after an outside investigation revealed widespread inequities between female athletes and their male counterparts, particularly on the football team, according to Lori Bullock, an Iowa civil rights lawyer who represented Clemson female athletes.
What female sport will be added has yet to be decided, the release said. 
From this week: Halfway through final season, Clemson track athletes feel school ‘turned their backs on us’
The announcement comes after more than a month of negotiations between Clemson Athletics, Bullock and California lawyer Arthur Bryant, who represented the men’s track, field and cross country teams. 
The lawyers said Clemson was in violation Title IX in two ways: by discriminating against the male track athletes and by not providing equal resources to female athletes on multiple teams. 

“This is the first time in the statute’s nearly-50-year history that male and female student-athletes have threatened to sue together to enforce it – and the first time Title IX has ever been used to win equality for men,” Bryant’s law firm, Bailey Glasser, said in a press release. 
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and mandates university athletic departments provide equal opportunities for men and women.

Clemson men’s track teams get reinstated

Athletic Director Dan Radakovich announced late last year that the men’s track, field and cross country teams would be dissolved due to future Title IX issues and budget constraints worsened by the pandemic. 
Those teams will now be fully reinstated and the university will add female athletes to reach Title IX compliance instead. 
“The decision comes after revised financial projections show the impacts of COVID-19, while significant, did not harm the University in as drastic a way as anticipated,” the university’s announcement reads. At the end of 2020, athletics spokesperson Jeff Kallin said the department faced a $25 million budget shortfall because of COVID-19. 
Critics called the reasons for the cut “inexcusable and unacceptable” and said Clemson only cares about athletes of color who generate revenue, like the football and basketball teams. 
The backstory: Clemson track athletes say decision to cut team hurts opportunities for people of color
There are 51 athletes on the men’s track and field team, 22 of whom are Black, according to Clemson Athletics. The other other majority-Black teams – football and basketball – generate the bulk of the athletic department’s revenue, according to budget documents. 

Widespread inequities found between football team, female sports

The university will develop an equity plan, which will be overseen by an outside consultant and ensure the university is providing equal opportunities and resources for female athletes, Bullock said. 
“I think Clemson has done the right thing,” Bullock said. “They are doing this for the right reasons and they are dedicated to getting into (Title IX) compliance and addressing these inequities.”
Bullock said the gender inequities between Clemson’s men’s and women’s teams are not unique. 
“These inequities exist at most colleges in the United States. And the problem is that unless the female student athletes are willing to come forward and hold their university accountable, there really isn’t anyone policing this on the ground.”
More: Clemson gets pressure from state, federal levels for transparency for discontinuing men’s track
Bullock worked with women from the track, cross country and rowing teams during her investigation. Here are some of the things she found: 
  • The football team gets three meals a day, seven days a week cooked by a professional chef during the entire school year. The rowing team gets two meals a day, four days a week, prepared in the dining halls just during the spring semester. 

  • The football team has access to a putt-putt course, bowling alley and rents out a movie theater in Anderson the night before a home game. No women’s teams, to Bullock’s knowledge, have access to any of that. 

  • Football players are given fitted suits for away games. No women are given that. 

  • The football team gets two media videos a season. The women’s track team did not even get a poster made for them this season. 

  • Women’s rowing athletes have to share one locker between three teammates.

Bullock expects more inequities to be unearthed during the Title IX review, which will be conducted by an outside source. 

The review will be completed and the plan in place by next summer, according to Clemson. “And will be designed to ensure that Clemson maintains, improves and achieves Title IX compliance across all aspects of its intercollegiate athletics program.”
Clemson promised to be in compliance with Title IX — which says college athletics’ gender demographics must reflect the university’s student body gender breakdown — by the 2023-2024 school year. 
“As we communicated previously, the original decision was difficult, and we did what was necessary at the time to maintain compliance with gender equity while addressing our financial situation. I am excited about the future of Clemson Athletics and for our student-athletes,” Radakovich said.
Zoe covers Clemson just don’t ask her about touchdowns or tackles. She covers everything non-sports. Find her at znicholson@gannett.com, @zoenicholson_ on Twitter, and @zoenicholsonreporter on Instagram. 
Clemson University Athletics announced it will add a female sports team and reinstate the men’s track, field and cross country teams, reversing a decision that prompted months of protests, complaints and threats of legal action.
“This is the right decision for our University, our Department of Athletics and, most importantly, for the young men and women who proudly wear the Clemson uniform,” Clemson Pres. Jim Clements said in a release. 
The university will also conduct a Title IX gender equity report after an outside investigation revealed widespread inequities between female athletes and their male counterparts, particularly on the football team, according to Lori Bullock, an Iowa civil rights lawyer who represented Clemson female athletes.
What female sport will be added has yet to be decided, the release said. 
From this week: Halfway through final season, Clemson track athletes feel school ‘turned their backs on us’



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