Brown U Allegedly Violated Title IX by Cutting Sports | Athletic Business

Brown U Allegedly Violated Title IX by Cutting Sports

The Brown University athletic department’s cuts have allegedly violated laws ensuring gender equality in sports.

According to The Associated Press, attorneys for Public Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island filed a motion in federal court Monday, alleging that Brown University is in violation of Title IX about a month after the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative transitioned 11 varsity sports team to club status.

The private Ivy League university in Providence, R.I., immediately ended varsity competition for men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, women’s skiing, men’s and women’s squash, women’s equestrian, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and men’s cross country. The university also moved the club coed sailing and women’s sailing programs to the varsity level.

Not all the cuts lasted, as university president Christina H. Paxson announced in early June that the men’s indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and cross country programs will each maintain their varsity status.

"Our students, alumni and parents took the time to share their deeply personal stories of the transformative impact that participation in track, field and cross country has had on their lives," Paxson wrote in a letter announcing the reinstatement of those three sports. "Many noted that, through Brown's history, these sports have been a point of entry to higher education for academically talented students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity, many of them students of color. In addition, we heard from members of the women's track, field and cross country teams who made a compelling case that eliminating the men's program would adversely impact the women's program."

Related content: Brown Reinstates Men’s Track, Field and Cross Country

As it currently stands, Brown cut three men’s sports and five women’s sports while adding one coed sport and one women’s sport. The motion filed Monday alleges that the cuts violate terms of the federal Title IX law.

“Defendants’ decision to eliminate five women’s intercollegiate athletic varsity teams, and with them meaningful participation opportunities for women, constitutes a gross and willful violation of the Joint Agreement to the immediate and irreparable harm of the class," the motion states, asking the court to enforce Title IX and prevent Brown from cutting sports unless it can prove that the law hasn’t been violated.

The changes bring Brown’s athletic department from 38 to 32 varsity teams for the 2020-21 school year.


“The plaintiff in this case is taking the unusual step of asking Brown to see into the future to provide data on rosters for the coming year, and is doing this at a time when a pandemic has created tremendous and unprecedented uncertainty around college enrollments and the status of athletic competition for the fall season," Brown spokesman Brian Clark said in a statement.

Related content: What Title IX Fallout Might NIL Legislation Pose?

AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide