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East Carolina Reinstates Women’s Teams After Lawsuit Threat

East Carolina University, which cut four sports teams in May due to a budget deficit caused partially by the coronavirus pandemic, will reinstate women’s tennis and women’s swimming and diving, the athletics director, Jon Gilbert, announced Thursday.

The change comes after members of the women’s teams threatened in November to file a lawsuit against the university alleging a violation of Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded institutions. Men’s tennis and men’s swimming and diving were also cut last year.

Gilbert said in a press release that the university worked with a Title IX consultant to come to the decision while also addressing the department’s deficit of more than $10 million. East Carolina will also develop a plan for gender equity with input from female athletes over the next year, he said.

Ron Mitchelson, interim chancellor of the university, said the university is “fully committed to providing meaningful opportunities to female athletes” despite the “unprecedented financial disruption” caused by the pandemic.

“Gender equity is a priority to our institution, and we will continue to take all the necessary steps to be compliant with Title IX,” he said in the press release.

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