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W&M releases gender equity review, a step toward financial stability in athletics

W&M releases gender equity review, a step toward financial stability in athletics

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Volleyball was among the sports William & Mary planned to eliminate following last school year.

Urinals will be removed from women’s locker rooms.

That’s one move William & Mary will make according to the gender equity plan formulated during the past year and released Tuesday. The review focused on participation, scholarships and treatment, and was launched in response to the Title IX issues the school encountered last year when it announced its intention to cut several sports.

The sports were reinstated — and W&M pledged to conduct a comprehensive gender equity review — after a lawsuit related to Title IX was threatened. The review is part of W&M’s strategy for long-term athletics financial sustainability.

Over the years, W&M converted men’s locker rooms to women’s locker rooms but failed to fully modify restrooms.

Hence there are urinals in women’s locker rooms. That will be addressed this school year.

The plan also advises more equitable scheduling of games and practice times, more equitable facilities and gear, as well as more equitable budgets, support personnel and scholarships.

W&M is exploring whether it should add one or more women’s sports in its quest to fully comply with Title IX. First, the school must determine how many sports it will sponsor in the long term. It has 23, more than most universities in W&M’s Division I tier.

Last September, the school said it would eliminate seven for financial reasons: men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball.

The women’s sports were continued after the threat of Title IX legal action, and the men’s sports were subsequently continued. Dramatically increased philanthropy followed, which helped the sports that had been targeted for elimination.

William & Mary named Brian Mann, who was a senior associate athletics director at the University of California, Berkeley, as its AD on June 23, and he began his job on Aug. 9. The gender equity plan was prepared by interim AD Jeremy Martin and his staff.

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