PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Brown University has reinstated its men’s track, field and cross country teams nearly two weeks after cutting several of its varsity teams, according to a letter sent to students Tuesday.
Brown announced its decision to reduce its number of varsity sports from 38 to 29 in late May. The move, according to University President Christina Paxson, was designed to make the Bears more competitive in the Ivy League.
“We have heard clearly from our community over the past couple of weeks that the university’s decision to transition men’s varsity track, field and cross country to club status will have real and lasting implications for efforts to build and sustain diverse and inclusive communities for our students at Brown, and particularly our community of black students and alumni,” Paxson wrote.
“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,” she continued. “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, Paxson said they also heard from members of the women’s track, field and cross country teams, all of which said eliminating the men’s program would “adversely impact the women’s program.”
One of the main reasons the men’s track, field and cross country teams were cut, Paxson said, was to keep Brown in compliance with a 1998 settlement agreement stemming from a Title IX lawsuit.
“This settlement agreement, which pertains only to Brown and is unique in all of collegiate athletics, created tight constraints specific to Brown regarding the balance of varsity athletics opportunities for women relative to men,” Paxson said.
Paxon said while the reinstatement of men’s track, field and cross country will impact the squad sizes of the other varsity teams, they have made modifications to ensure that Brown remains in compliance with the legal settlement.
“In the coming year, the university will examine alternative strategies for addressing the issues that arise from the settlement agreement,” Paxson said.
With men’s track, field and cross country reinstated, Brown’s varsity program will now include 32 teams. The change is effective immediately, Paxson said, and doesn’t apply to any of the other varsity teams that were cut.