The College of William & Mary will reinstate its women's gymnastics, women's swimming and women's volleyball programs for the school to avoid being sued over violations of Title IX.
The three programs were a part of seven sports that were set to be discontinued following the conclusion of the 2020-21 school per a school announcement on Sept. 3. The school cited financial concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason for the removal of the teams.
Several female student-athletes sought representation from the firm of Bailey & Glasser, LLP to pursue a Title IX lawsuit against the school. The intent to sue alleged that the female athletes were being deprived of equal opportunities, financial aid and treatment.
With the teams' reinstatement, the Oakland, California-based firm will drop its plans to sue the school.
“This is a major victory for gender equity, everyone at William & Mary, and all who care about fairness and the law,” lead counsel Arthur Bryant said in a statement to NBC Sports Washington. “The school has decided to do the right thing: reinstate the women’s gymnastics, swimming, and volleyball teams; create a detailed plan to ensure gender equity; and commit to get into compliance with all aspects of Title IX in two years. The women student-athletes at William & Mary are finally going to get the equal treatment they deserve—and the law requires.”
As a part of the settlement, the school will also create a Gender Equity Plan to be fully compliant with the civil rights law from the Educational Amendments of 1972. Violations of the law could prevent public institutions from receiving any federal assistance.
The four men's sports, indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s swimming and men’s gymnastics were not announced to be reinstated as a part of this move.
In the past month, William & Mary athletic director Samantha Huge and the school parted ways in the aftermath of this move. Huge was in her position with the Tribe for less than four years.