SIU Athletics found non-compliant with Title IX regulations, will add D1 women’s soccer program

Dunn: Athletics deficit now $4 million a year


(Photo Illustration by Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz, File images by the Daily Egyptian)

The university does not offer as many opportunities to women athletes as it does to men, an internal review of SIU Athletics found last year.

The university has agreed to a resolution with the U.S. Office of Civil rights to add a women’s soccer team, according to documents obtained by the Daily Egyptian.

University officials submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on Nov. 10, 2017, committing to create a women’s soccer team to become compliant with federal Title IX laws. The team will begin competing in Division 1 in 2020 after playing as a club for a year.

The agreement, drafted by the SIU Board of Trustees and signed into effect by Chancellor Carlo Montemagno on Jan. 5, outlines steps the university will take to create the new women’s soccer program and upgrade athletics facilities to a Division 1 caliber.

See document by clicking the link below:

[aesop_document type=”pdf” src=”” caption=”Agreement Resolution signed by Chancellor Carlo Montemagno on Jan. 5″]

The agreement states the “university acknowledges as part of the agreement that there are a sufficient number of female students and admitted students at the university with the interest and ability to support the addition of an intercollegiate women’s soccer team.”

Athletics spokesman Tom Weber said Tuesday morning the university had not reached a decision in adding any sports teams to the university when inquired by the Daily Egyptian – later that day the addition was officially announced by the university.

The announcement came hours after the Daily Egyptian published the story stating that the university was starting a women’s soccer team.

It is estimated the soccer team will cost between $650,000 and $700,000 a year according to memo written by President Randy Dunn obtained by the Daily Egyptian.

Weber said the women’s soccer program will have an annual budget of approximately $400,000 annual budget, compared to the $600,000 spent on the two tennis programs their final year. 

An additional $100,000 is anticipated to cover one-time facility enhancements and equipment purchases, athletics announced in its press release.

In Dunn’s memo, he also reported the athletics department is operating with an approximate $4 million annual deficit.

“In the last three years we have done over two million dollars in cost cutting,” Weber said. “In the last fiscal year our expenditures were down more than $700,000. A lot of our revenue is tied to student fees, so as our enrollment drops that significantly affects us.”

Dunn said Athletic Director Tommy Bell has wanted to start a women’s soccer team since he became SIU’s director of athletics in 2015.

“Interest in soccer is at an all-time high, and our University had the foresight to build a dual-purpose facility for the eventual arrival of soccer on our campus,” Tommy Bell said in Tuesday’s press release. “The addition of soccer at SIU is a natural fit for our region and is consistent with our University’s goal of creating a vibrant student experience.”

“In the end, I am hopeful this did not become a backdoor way to implement a new and more expensive sport without making the case in regular fashion to drop one and start another,” Dunn said in the memo.

Dunn also said in the memo, had the university kept women’s tennis, it would have cost about $350,000 a year.

He said the new women’s soccer team, which will play club competition in 2018-2019 and Division 1 the following year, would help attract students to the university.

The addition of a women’s soccer team will lead to the hiring of a head coach, assistant coach and support staff. The team will begin practice and play in the 2018-2019 academic year, according to the agreement between the university and the Office of Civil Rights.

In the agreement the university did not admit non-compliance or any wrongdoing.


An internal Title IX assessment summary conducted in 2016 and updated in 2017 by Helen Grant Consulting outlines the university’s noncompliance findings.

Title IX, a federal law that is part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX compliance is determined by a three-part test in which the consultant found SIU failed to comply with two parts.

Reagan Gavin | @RGavin_DE

The report stated SIU failed to comply with part one and two of Title IX, with the third unable to be determined. The report reads as follows:

  1. SIU does not meet Test 1 requirements. There was a 7.0 percent difference between the participation rates between male and female student athletes and the enrollment rates of male and female students for the 2015-2016 academic year. The difference is significant and represents approximately 65 participation opportunities.
  2. Currently, SIU does not meet Test 2 (history and continuing practice of program expansion) requirements because it has been twenty-six years since the last sport for women was added (swimming/diving in 1989-90).
  3. It cannot be determined that SIU meets the third test because there are indicators of interest (i.e., club & high school participation and competitive region competition) for bowling, equestrian, lacrosse, soccer and rugby. Additionally, since beach volleyball has become an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women it has grown significantly and is being considered by most NCAA Division 1 institutions. It is difficult to comply with Title IX requirements for Test 3 in general and probably not possible for SIU simply because of not sponsoring women’s soccer. Women’s soccer is a major intercollegiate sport for women, and is played by over 750 high schools in the state, and is sponsored by seven other schools in the MVC. However, if SIU chooses to adjust the sports it sponsors and proportionally (Test 1) compliance is obtained, Test 3 compliance will be moot.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams were cut by the university in January 2017 to save $660,000 while the state was without a budget.  

Former tennis coach Judy Auld and former SIU tennis athlete Molly Beckmann filed a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights on March 29, 2017, alleging Title IX violations after the men’s and women’s tennis teams were eliminated.

“I was pretty devastated,” Auld said. “I did not feel that [eliminating the team] was justified. I felt like other things could have happened if we would have thought [a little bit] out of the box.”

Auld and alumni of the tennis program attempted to raise money to save the teams. However she said there was not enough time, which prompted her to pursue the Freedom of Information Act to inquire about SIU’s Title IX compliance.

“Once we saw that they were not in compliance with Title IX, we had to file the complaint and Molly Card Beckmann that played in the early ‘90s was also on the complaint,” Auld said. “In dropping the sports we were going to be more out of compliance and somewhere it has to stop; that’s the purpose of Title IX.”

…somewhere it has to stop; that’s the purpose of Title IX.

— Judy Auld, former SIU Women's Tennis Coach

Auld said she didn’t expect the tennis team to be reinstated and that she was disappointed but not surprised about the agreement creating the soccer team, expressing concern that the addition will be costly to the university.

“I don’t know how they’re going to handle this to where it can be a good competitive Division 1 program,” she said.

The Daily Egyptian reached out to the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the President – neither were available for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Photography and multimedia editor Brian Muñoz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz.

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Editors Note: Daily Egyptian editor-in-chief Athena Chrysanthou is a former member of the SIU Women’s Tennis team. Chrysanthou’s scholarship was not affected by the elimination of the tennis program.