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Dartmouth Reinstates Five Teams Amid Legal Threat

Brock Fritz

Dartmouth College is immediately reversing course on its July decision to eliminate five varsity programs.

The Ivy League university in Hanover, N.H., announced Friday that it’s immediately reinstating men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s lightweight rowing. According to the athletic department’s press release, the reinstatements come “after Dartmouth recently learned that elements of the data Athletics used to confirm continued Title IX compliance may not have been complete.”

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at universities receiving federal funding, ensuring that men and women receive equal opportunities. In the wake of the July decision to cut the programs, Dartmouth athletes protested and called for the sports’ return.

Related content: Dartmouth College Athletes Protest Sports Cuts

To resolve threatened legal action, Dartmouth settled with members of the women’s golf and women’s swimming and diving teams through a joint statement that included reinstating the teams and seeing Dartmouth athletics undergoing a gender equity review.

“The gender equity review is to be completed no later than March 15, 2022,” the joint statement reads. “Based on that review, Dartmouth will adopt and implement a gender equity plan designed to ensure that all aspects of its intercollegiate athletic program comply with Title IX during the 2023-24 academic year and in future years. The plan will be publicly available on the Dartmouth athletics website.”

Related content: Dartmouth Drops Five Programs Over Enrollment, Budget

“We are delighted that Dartmouth has agreed to reinstate the women’s golf and swimming and diving teams, conduct a gender equity review, and ensure that all aspects of its intercollegiate athletic program comply with Title IX,” Bailey & Glasser, LLP, attorney Arthur H. Bryant said. “Our clients, who stood up for their rights, are incredibly proud. They sincerely hope that Dartmouth will use this opportunity to become a model for gender equity in athletics nationwide.”

Dartmouth will begin searching for women’s coaches by Feb. 1, and that the teams will begin “to compete as soon as practicable, in accordance with Dartmouth’s COVID-19 guidelines and Ivy League decisions on competition.” As part of the settlement, the women’s teams must remain in place through at least the 2024-25 academic year.

"We know that many in our community have been disappointed by the decisions we have made within Athletics and across the institution,” Dartmouth president Philip J. Hanlon said. “The news that the data used to confirm Title IX compliance in connection with the team eliminations may not have been complete only adds to that disappointment.

"We sincerely apologize that this process has been, and continues to be, so painful to our current and former student-athletes and all who support them. Through the actions above, we will make sure that any future decisions will be based on accurate data. Our sincere hope is that these reviews and team reinstatements will create an opportunity for us to come together as a community as we navigate the challenging times ahead."

Related content: Did Dartmouth Cuts Unfairly Impact Asian Athletes

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