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Vanderbilt, women’s track athletes settle suit

Jan. 15, 2002, 2:36 PM

January 15, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt University and seven members of the 2000-2001 women’s track and field and cross country teams have agreed to settle a lawsuit the athletes filed in May 2000.

Charging a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the athletes claimed that the quality and compensation of their coaching staff, as well as the program funding and quality of facilities were not equal to that of men’s teams.

In agreeing to resolve the lawsuit, the University and the students have agreed to a timetable for the reconstruction of the track and field facilities, as well as an increase in funding for the program and an increase in the full-time coaching staff from 2.5 to 3 positions. As a result of the settlement, the students’ lawsuit against the University was dismissed.

Improvements to the facilities, which were being planned before the suit was brought, will begin in May or June 2002, following completion of the spring athletic programs.

“We are pleased that this lawsuit has been settled,” Athletic Director Todd Turner said on behalf of the University. “The women’s track and field and cross country programs are major contributors to the Vanderbilt athletic program. We are proud of their accomplishments, both as students and athletes. The new facilities will enhance their program and will improve the quality of student life not only for the student-athletes, but for all students at Vanderbilt.”

The student-athletes, speaking through their attorney Charles R. Ray, said they are pleased that the University has agreed to make these much needed investments in the track and field and cross country programs. They said they are hopeful these investments represent renewed long-term commitment of resources and support to these and all other women’s athletics programs at Vanderbilt.

In addition to the track and field program, the reconstructed field will be available to other athletic programs, such as women’s lacrosse and women’s and men’s soccer. The track will remain available for all University students and residents in the neighboring community when it is not being used by the track team.

The suit was brought by former students Shelly Dove and Kelly Howisey and current students Tara Gregory, Colleen Byrne, Cyndy Merse, Lauren Price and Kylene Kownurko.

Contact: Elizabeth Latt, (615) 322-NEWS