Metro-East News

SIUC creating women’s soccer team to comply with gender-equality rules

SIUC is not offering equal opportunities to women’s athletes as required by Title IX of federal law, according to an internal review.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale was hit with a civil rights complaint in March 2017 that alleged Title IX violations after tennis teams were eliminated from the university’s athletic program, according to the Daily Egyptian. At the same time, 16.4 scholarships were cut in three sports, according to the Southern Illinoisan.

An internal review in 2016-17 found that SIUC has approximately 65 more opportunities for men than women in its athletic program, and that it has been 26 years sine the last sport for women was added in 1989.

The university submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education in November that pledged to create a women’s soccer team in order to achieve compliance, with increased opportunities in four of its eight existing intercollegiate sports. It was signed Jan. 5, according to the Daily Egyptian.

The new soccer team would be added in the 2019-2020 academic year, with preparatory actions this year and next, according to the proposal. President Randy Dunn told the Daily Egyptian that athletic director Tommy Bell has wanted to start such a team since 2015.

No cuts to existing programs are proposed, according to the proposal, and the university did not admit non-compliance in the agreement, according to the Daily Egyptian. SIUC will add back 8.4 scholarships with an initial budget of less than $400,000, according to the Southern Illinoisan.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald