CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson is keeping its men’s track and field and cross country programs after planning to eliminate them at the end of the current season.
The school said Thursday revised financial projections found that COVID-19 did not impact the athletic department as drastically as was initially thought.
The school said it had received significant contributions, along with state and federal financial support and appropriations, that led to Clemson reconsidering its decision.
Clemson also said it will add at least one and perhaps more women’s varsity sport. It has not decided which sports will be started.
“This is the right decision for our University, our Department of Athletics and, most importantly, for the young men and women who proudly wear the Clemson uniform,” said Clemson President Jim Clements said in a statement.
Track and field athletes put up a vocal fight to keep their sport, consulting with attorneys about what actions they might take.
“We are thrilled that Clemson’s courageous male and female student-athletes stood up for their rights and forced Clemson to treat them equally and comply with Title IX,” said Arthur Bryant of Bailey Glasser’s Oakland, California, office.
Clemson agreed with attorneys to hold a gender equity review of its athletic program, the goal to adopt a new gender equity plan to strengthen the school’s commitment to women’s sports.
The plan will be completed by July 1, 2022, and will ensure the athletic department complies with Title IX guidelines.
The athletic department expects Title IX compliance by 2023-24 academic year.
Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said while the decision to eliminate the programs was difficult, “we did what was necessary at the time to maintain compliance with gender equity while addressing our financial situation.”
Radakovich was excited about the reversal going forward.
Distance runner Andrew Castano, a junior, said the track and field and cross country teams worked hard to represent Clemson well. They “still want to do that, despite the damage Clemson’s leadership did to us,” he said.