Clemson University and its department of athletics have agreed to continue men’s outdoor and indoor track and field and cross country programs as varsity sports, the university announced in a press release on Thursday, April 22. The decision comes months after conversations among student-athletes, their representatives, families, supporters of the program and university officials.
“I am appreciative of the support of the university and our collaboration that will allow us to not only maintain our current sports portfolio but add to it in the very near future,” said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. “As we communicated previously, the original decision was difficult, and we did what was necessary at the time to maintain compliance with gender equity while addressing our financial situation. I am excited about the future of Clemson Athletics and for our student-athletes.”
Thursday’s announcement comes after officials say revised financial projections on the impact of COVID-19 on the university were less harmful than expected. Clemson had decided last fall to stop the track and field and cross country program — along with several others — to stem some of the financial fall out from the pandemic.
The university also announced it will add one or more women’s varsity sports to support gender equity.
“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. “I am thrilled that we are able to continue these men’s programs and I am excited for the new varsity opportunities we will soon be adding for our female student-athletes.”
With the addition of more women’s varsity sports, the university explained in the release that it’s about the student population. Female students will probably outnumber males for the first time in Clemson’s history in Fall 2021. A gender equity review of its intercollegiate athletics program is underway at Clemson that will go toward creating a new gender equity plan. That plan, according to the university, will be done by July 2022 and implemented as soon as possible.