Dartmouth Re-instates Five Sports

Re-examination of Title IX figures plays role
Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Five sports teams at Dartmouth College have been issued a reprieve, with the school announcing Friday that men’s and women’s swim and dive, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s lightweight rowing would all be immediately reinstated after being cut back in July.

Dartmouth told Channel 3 sports at the time that those programs were being cut because of budgetary reasons exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and also because the school’s president Philip Hanlon issued a directive to the athletic department to trim the number of recruited student-athletes by ten percent in incoming classes. Prior to those cuts, Dartmouth had both the smallest student body and the highest percentage of student athletes in the Ivy League, and the school wanted increased flexibility in the admissions process.

But the athletes who were losing their sports teams pushed back against the decision, specifically the women’s golf and swim and dive teams. Representatives of those programs hired a lawyer who specializes in Title IX cases back in December, alleging that “intercollegiate participation opportunities for women as compared to men were not equal at Dartmouth, in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in programs and activities receiving federal funding.”

Arthur Bryant of the law firm Bailey and Glasser LLP spoke with the Global Golf Post for a story published Thursday, before the school’s announcement reversing the decision to cut the five teams. In the article, Bryant cited publicly available data from the college, suggesting that women made up roughly 49% of the Dartmouth student body, but only 45% of student-athletes. He added that cutting the three men’s sports and two women’s sports would get the Big Green closer to compliance, but they would still be nearly 50 female athletes shy of that 49% bar.

After reviewing data the athletics department used in making its decision on which teams to cut, the college determined that data may have been incomplete and announced that the five teams would be reinstated. As part of a resolution to avoid legal action by the women’s golf and swim and dive teams, the school announced it will undertake several other measures to ensure Title IX compliance. Those include a gender equity review to be completed no later than March 15th of 2022, with the development and implementation of a plan to reach full Title IX compliance by the 2023-24 school year.

There were 110 student-athletes who participated in these two sports during the 2019-20 school year along with 15 coaches and staff members. Those college employees had their jobs cut this Summer, but the school says they’ll be offered the right of first refusal in the re-hiring process, which is slated to begin next week.

As per the agreement between Dartmouth and the two women’s programs, the five sports must remain in place until at least the Summer of 2025, but the college “retains the right to adjust its intercollegiate athletic program as financial or other circumstances dictate.” Athletic competitions at Dartmouth and throughout the Ivy League remain shut down until at least the end of February, but when those restrictions are lifted, the five teams will be allowed to resume normal functions.

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