The Mack Report

Merrimack College reaches settlement with Dept. of Education in Title IX probe

In an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Merrimack College will add six new women’s athletic teams after a federal review found that the college’s number of male athletes was unfairly higher than it’s number of female athletes.

Of the six sports to be added, the college has already added five, including indoor and outdoor track, crew, golf and swimming.

The college was investigated by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for a possible Title IX violation. Title IX bars discrimination on the basis of gender for schools that receive federal financial aid. The education department examined whether or not female student athletes were denied participation in Merrimack’s athletic program and whether they were discriminated against in awarding scholarships, according to a statement from the education department.

As a resolution, the college has agreed to add six new women’s teams, which will address the disproportional numbers.

The last new team will be a women’s hockey program, which will compete at Division 1 and eventually in Hockey East. According to Hockey East bylaws, any member of the men’s conference that adds a women’s program is automatically granted membership into the women’s conference.

The review also found that the college was disproportionately awarding financial assistance in sports, which was remedied by the college agreeing to award “significant” financial aid to female athletes, according to the statement.