Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Audrey Anderson commented on the recent settlement between Clemson University and student athletes on the men’s track and field and cross-country teams applying the requirements under Title IX, the federal law requiring equal athletic opportunities for women. The Clemson student athletes threatened suit after the university cut the teams due to budget deficits as a result of the pandemic. The male athletes claimed that the cuts would result in an inequitable number of sports opportunities for men and women, a direct violation of Title IX. This 2021 Clemson settlement appears to be the first time male athletes have claimed a university was in violation of Title IX by providing inadequate opportunities for male students.
“Now that this has been used successfully as a tool by male athletes at Clemson, athletic directors should say, ‘Huh, if I try to cut a men’s sport, could that be used as a successful tool against me?'” Audrey said. “Title IX analysis should be something they’re doing to make sure they’re within the lines as team sizes change and sports change … They have to comply with federal law.”
The full article, “Settling for More,” was published May 11 by Inside Higher Ed and is available online.