SIU Athletics under investigation after complaint

SIU investigated after Title IX complaint
Updated: May. 16, 2017 at 4:01 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Athletics Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education after someone filed a Title IX complaint.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education said the Office for Civil Rights opened its investigation on April 27, 2017.

According to Tom Weber, the Associate Athletic Director at SIUC, the University received the complaint on April 29, 2017.

The Department of Education spokesman said the investigation is for "possible discrimination in the school's athletics program"

Athletic Director Tommy Bell released this statement:

The U.S. Department of Education has advised us of a Title IX complaint regarding the gender equality of athletic opportunities at the university. We are working closely with the Office of Civil Rights to provide all of the relevant information in order to resolve this inquiry. Until we know what actions, if any, need to be taken, it would be inappropriate to comment regarding specifics of the investigation.

SIU Carbondale and its athletics programs are committed to an inclusive campus. We take our Title IX obligations seriously and believe we are in compliance with the law.

Weber said university leaders are currently compiling information like the history of the Salukis, roster sizes, the sports that have been eliminated, and the reason for those eliminations.

He called the process 'lengthy' and said it could take months or even years to determine whether or not the school is in compliance.

Because it is an open investigation, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights cannot provide any additional information about the case.

In January, school leaders announced that the men and women's tennis teams would be eliminated and the school would reduce the number of scholarships in men's swimming and diving. The university estimated that the cuts would save about $660,000 each year.

The Athletics department hired a Title IX consultant to conduct an assessment of SIU's compliance status before making the cuts. School leaders took a full year to make the decision on what teams to cut. That included a budget impact analysis along with the Title IX review.

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