William & Mary President President Katherine A. Rowe announced Thursday the college would reinstate the remaining varsity sports programs that were cut in September.
Men’s gymnastics, swimming and indoor and outdoor track & field are reinstated through the 2021-2022 academic year.
“As part of that reset, Rowe said, W&M men’s athletics teams slated for reclassification will continue as Division I sports through at least 2021-22, in order to take a phased approach that allows for a gender equity review paired with exploration of alternative solutions leading to a long-term financial plan,” according to the statement from Tribe Athletics.
In addition, the university will “reset its process” for the future of the athletics department.
This news comes a little more than a week after the women’s track & field team decided to protest the men’s teams not being reinstated.
In an email sent to student-athletes, families, coaches, staff and alumni on Thursday, Rowe noted the men’s teams are reinstated “through at least” 2021-2022 while the university works on its gender equity review (Title IX compliance) and the long-term plan of athletics.
“Going forward, William & Mary Athletics cannot fulfill its commitments to provide an equitable and excellent environment for learning and competing in Division I, under its prior financial model,” Rowe said in a prepared statement. “Director Martin has outlined a clear and hopeful path to achieving those essential goals with an operational footing that could be sustainable beyond 2020, if the milestones the department will establish are reached.”
The athletics department will share a two-year fundraising plan by Feb. 1, 2021 and “should be designed to cover operating costs” through the 2022-2023 athletics year.
In addition, Rowe noted the university will update the community “quarterly” about the athletics department’s progress.
“William & Mary is committed to the overall success of the Athletics Department,” she said, adding Division I excellence, equity and financial sustainability must be addressed. “Within the department, no sports program’s outcomes are separable from the fate of the whole.
“Every program is affected by these urgent challenges and must participate in addressing them.”
On Sept. 3, Rowe, Provost Peggy and former Athletics Director Samantha Huge announced the men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and women’s volleyball would be cut.
The weeks following the decision prompted outcry and the discovery of the plagiarized open letter announcing the sports cuts. Some faculty members planned for a vote of no confidence in Huge’s leadership. An attorney threatened to file a Title IX lawsuit on behalf of the women’s teams. Huge resigned on Oct. 6 and two weeks later, W&M reinstated the women’s teams to comply with Title IX.
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