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Men’s track, field and cross country reinstated as varsity sports

Announcement from Paxson Tuesday night reverses decision to transition three teams to club status

The men’s track, field and cross country teams have been reinstated to the varsity roster, a reversal of their recent demotion to the club level, President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a community-wide email Tuesday night. The other eight teams that were demoted as part of the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative will retain their new club status.  

Paxson wrote that the University chose to reinstate men's track, field and cross country partially in response to feedback about how cutting the three teams would "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." The adverse effects the cuts would have had on the women's track, field and cross country teams also factored into the decision to reinstate the three men's teams, she added.

In order to comply with Title IX regulations and a 1998 legal settlement unique to Brown, changes to varsity roster sizes will need to be evaluated in the coming year, Paxson wrote. 

“The reinstatement of men’s track, field and cross country will have implications for the squad sizes of Brown’s varsity teams,” Paxson wrote. “However, we have determined that with some modifications, Brown will be able to remain in compliance with the requirements of the legal settlement and with Title IX for the time being.”

After Paxson announced the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative May 28 and the demotion of men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s squash, women’s skiing, women’s equestrian and men’s track, field and cross country, athletes from each team jumped into action to petition for their varsity status to be reinstated. A petition specific to reinstating men’s track, field and cross country teams garnered almost 50,000 signatures at press time.

As members of a particularly diverse team within Brown athletics, athletes argued the team’s demotion would negatively impact representation of athletes of color across the entire varsity roster, The Herald previously reported

“The original revised roster of varsity sports maintained Brown’s overall diversity in varsity athletics, but we now more fully appreciate the consequences of eliminating men’s track, field and cross country for Black students in our community and among our extended community of Black alumni,” Paxson wrote.  



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