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Brown Downgrading Varsity Sports to Club Status

RockySoilRockySoil 225 replies2 threads Junior Member
Brown just announced that it is downgrading Fencing, Squash, Men's T&F, and others to club status.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

"Effective immediately, Brown will cease training, competition and related operations at the varsity level for the following sports: men and women’s fencing; men and women’s golf; women’s skiing; men and women’s squash; women’s equestrian; and men’s track, field and cross country (which are three varsity sports under federal Title IX rules governing access to opportunities in sports). In addition, club coed sailing and club women’s sailing each will transition to varsity status."
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Replies to: Brown Downgrading Varsity Sports to Club Status

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5352 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited May 28
    RockySoil wrote: »
    Brown just announced that it is downgrading Fencing, Squash, Men's T&F, and others to club status.

    Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

    "Effective immediately, Brown will cease training, competition and related operations at the varsity level for the following sports: men and women’s fencing; men and women’s golf; women’s skiing; men and women’s squash; women’s equestrian; and men’s track, field and cross country (which are three varsity sports under federal Title IX rules governing access to opportunities in sports). In addition, club coed sailing and club women’s sailing each will transition to varsity status."

    Wow. Cue the transfers in the downgraded sports!
    edited May 28
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 84 replies2 threads Junior Member
    The Men's T&F surprises me a bit. Some of the other sports are certainly niche sports so a little easier to understand making them club sports, which may make sense.
    I am not sure how competitive Brown is in Men's T&F though there are quite a few very good T&F Athletes in the Ivies.
    The announcement did state that Brown has the third-largest number of varsity teams in the nation, and alluded to having trouble being competitive and fielding rosters, and so it may make sense to reduce some of these sports to club teams.
    This may have been in the works though the cost and concerns with COVID impacting budgets may have pushed the decision along.
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  • politepersonpoliteperson 628 replies4 threads Member
    ^ I agree the Track piece is pretty surprising. I’m not sure how replacing track with sailing helps with diversity but I do see how it helps with title 9. Brown has had some good individual athletes over the years but has trouble recruiting against the stronger track programs in the conference. Pretty sad day for those athletes, who probably could understand this better if it was Covid or budget related, which the president says it isn’t.
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  • Sam-I-AmSam-I-Am 669 replies25 threads Member
    Brown's dropping of Men's XC and T&F reminds me of Northwestern dropping the same after Title IX took effect. NU dropped the women's versions as well but years later brought back women's XC. If universities really want to save money, many would find they could save the most by eliminating football which is not a revenue sport at most schools.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5352 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited May 28
    This may have been in the works though the cost and concerns with COVID impacting budgets may have pushed the decision along.

    The communication says the athletic department operational budget will remain the same, as well as the number of athletic recruits. So beyond sailing, some of the remaining varsity sports are going to get more recruits, and a higher budget.
    Through the new initiative, the University will maintain its current operational budget for varsity athletics, with operating funds made available by the reduction in varsity teams being allocated strategically within the Department of Athletics. Brown will continue to recruit the same number of varsity athletes so that rosters can be right-sized, and the smaller number of varsity teams will support stronger recruiting in the admissions process, allowing for deeper talent on each team.

    edited May 28
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  • chicobeanschicobeans 26 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Other than football, did any sports survive that don’t have both a mens and womens program? That was the death knell for “minor” men’s sports when title 9 initially rolled out..
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  • StanleyCup2018StanleyCup2018 47 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Football revenues may for virtually all of the other sports at most schools. Cutting it would essentially be killing the athletic department in total.
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  • chicobeanschicobeans 26 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Understood, but that’s kinda irrelevant at an Ivy. That said, I do understand that football would likely never get cut at an Ivy for many other reasons. My question is did any other mens only sports survive the chopping block? And if so, why? Would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall during these discussions...
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  • RockySoilRockySoil 225 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Title IX did some really good things for women's equality, but created a new inequality for men who play minor sports because schools won't/can't cut football scholarships and rosters. Fewer scholarships than the woman, smaller rosters at many schools (few or no walk-ons allowed), and now more and more schools cutting minor men's sports but leaving intact the woman's programs. I don't have the solution, just frustrated at the unintended consequences :)
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24802 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Brown doesn't give athletic scholarships so that isn't a reason. Title IX does require equal opportunities (not just scholarships).

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  • chicobeanschicobeans 26 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Looks like football and wrestling are only 2 men’s sports without a direct counterpart on the womens side. Brown wrestling was winless in ivy competition this year, so clearly one of the less competitive teams in e conference. Kinda surprised it survived the chopping block..

    The horse trading must have been very interesting throughout these discussions and decisions...
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  • CleodxCleodx 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    These decisions also depends on what alumni think, what kind of support alumni provide, if coaching positions are endowed, if facilities are in good shape or need major investments etc.
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  • UltimaCroixUltimaCroix 10 replies2 threads New Member
    The squash downgrade is a big surprise to me, they had good men's and women's teams and it was woven in the historic fabric of the school. The rosters were very "prep school" oriented, though.

    I have heard mixed things. Was the downgrading of all of these sports to club due to budget constraints, to achieve more socioeconomic equity, or a Title IX issue? More Early Decision fairness?
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4190 replies27 threads Senior Member
    As squash is not an NCAA sport -- it operates under the College Squash Association -- I wonder how much impact the conversion to "club" sport has, since plenty of schools compete (though not generally at the highest level) as a club sport. Smaller coaching staff, fewer recruiting spots, no international training trip? There's no athletic money as an Ivy, and competition is basically up and down the eastern seaboard, so travel is not a huge expense. The strongest teams compete for international talent so perhaps if Brown wasn't successful in building an international roster, the way Trinity and other schools have been, perhaps it decided to "downgrade" its commitment. I don't know that Brown was not successful in building an international roster, I'm just going off @UltimaCroix'c comment about "prep school" roster.
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 84 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My guess is that there may have been some consideration given to the more traditional HS & NCAA Sports. Squash and Fencing are certainly niche type sports and some may argue fine as club sports.
    Men's track is what surprise me. That is a traditional HS & NCAA Sport and the IL typically has some very good track athletes.
    Also, I believe most college Men's & Woman's T&F teams share that same coaching staff, so there is probably no real cost savings from a coaching perspective.
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  • RockySoilRockySoil 225 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @recruitparent The T&F/XC decision was purely for Title IX reasons. One distance runner counts as three athletes (XC, Indoor track, Outdoor track) and the non-distance athletes count as two, so cutting those teams frees up a lot of roster spots for football without affecting that many athletes. It's just an accounting gimmick (why is running three sports?) but it has helped many schools keep a focus on football and still meet Title IX.
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  • NJdad07090NJdad07090 611 replies8 threads Member
    well I saw this and thought Holy crap Brown has a 2 BILLION endowment how can they do this, but in digging in they said they have 38 sports and were not cutting the overall budget for sports. it seems they may want to get serious in some sports vs their ivy counterparts at the cost of these 11 sports. It sucks for the runners, fencers, squash players... and is great news for the 2 sports that they pulled up but cmon they could have kept the sports and found a way to put a bigger budget to support them, after all they have a $2B endowment. If I was a Brown Alumi this would annoy me more bc it is not virus related.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24802 replies20 threads Senior Member
    The Ivies have many more sports than other d1 schools and yet don't have as many students. There is a point where you just need warm bodies to fill those teams.

    Football has its own rules on how many students can be recruited, how many freshmen, how many can travel. I think it has less to do with football and more to do with getting some of their other teams up to competitive (lacrosse, hockey, sailing) levels.
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 84 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @RockySoil Good input. Makes sense from a Title IX #s perspective, especially with the distance runners, though still seems a shame to me for a school such as Brown to not have a Men's Track Team.

    @twoinanddone good pt. on the typical # of D1 sports at the Ivies given the student body size. I believe the Brown announcement mentioned something about teams having to invite players to walk on to complete rosters.
    So I can certainly understand making some of the sports club sports and trying to get more competitive. It's just too bad that the # of men's/woman's spots had to cost a traditional sport like Men's T&F but I am sure it is not easy balancing it out with football being only a Men's sport.
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