Redshirt sophomore Amanda Hamrin reading the green at the 2019 Sunoco Campbell Oil Classic. The tournament was held at the River Landing Golf Club. Image/UNCP Athletics.
by Zachary C. Young
Published Dec. 28, 2020
The Braves will be teeing off once again after the university decided to reinstate the golf team. This past September the team was suspended due to budget constraints, but the suspension was delayed thanks to an anonymous donor. The announcement to reinstate the team was made by Athletic Director Dick Christy on Dec. 11, less than three weeks after Chancellor Robin Cummings received a letter from attorney Arthur Bryant.
Bryant is a defense attorney with Bailey & Glasser law firm, whose services were retained by the golf team members. In his letter to Chancellor Cummings, he called the school’s suspension of golf to be “a flagrant violation of Title IX.”
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits someone, based on sex, from being discriminated against at a school that receives federal funding.
Also, Title IX requires “intercollegiate level participation opportunities for male and female students are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments.”
In his letter to Chancellor Cummings, Bryant mentions that women at UNCP make up 60% of undergraduate enrollment, but the university only offers women 36% of their athletic opportunities.
“With the “suspension” of the women’s golf team announced on September 10, the school’s athletic participation numbers dropped to approximately 298 men and 161 women, or 35.08% women—increasing the participation gap to 25.02%. As a result, UNCP would need to add approximately 288 women to reach gender equity under Title IX,” read Bryant’s letter.
Bryant proposed lifting the team’s suspension, or a class-action lawsuit would be pursued against the school.
In his career that spans over 35 years, Bryant has represented more female athletes in Title IX cases than any other attorney in the United States.
On Dec. 21, the Bailey & Glasser issued a press release in response to UNCP’s decision to reinstate the team.
“Under the agreement, UNCP will immediately reinstate its women’s varsity golf team and develop a gender equity plan no later than December 31, 2021. The school will solicit input for the plan from student-athletes for all teams and expressly invite participation by the women’s golf team,” read the press release.
Coach David Synan was thankful that the team would remain intact. “We have a proud tradition and program over the last 14 years. That includes a 3.87 team GPA and a No. 17 national ranking this semester,” said Synan.