DSU defends dropping equestrian team

    Lawyers for Delaware State University argue the school is not violating Title IX by dropping its women’s Equestrian squad at the end of the school year.

    Lawyers for Delaware State University argue the school is not violating Title IX by dropping its women’s equestrian squad at the end of the school year.

    In DSU’s response to separate requests from team members and recruit Melia Blakely for a preliminary injunction to prevent Delaware State from dropping the program, school attorneys claim the school satisfies prong two of the three prong Title IX test, showing a history and continuing practice of program expansion for women.

    DSU’s lawyers point to participation numbers from the Department of Education which show Delaware State has gone from 83 female student-athletes in 2004 to 177 in 2009.  That’s raised the percentage of female student-athletes in its athletic department from 32 to 44 percent during that period.

    Delaware State also argues that it is offsetting the discontinuation of the equestrian program by starting a competitive cheer squad in 2010/2011, adding they have already hired a coach, will conduct tryouts for the team in May and have budgeted $100,000 for the program.  The school believes the cheer squad could add up to 50 new athletic opportunities for women, a net gain even after the 20 lost equestrian spots are factored in.

    WHYY examined the Title IX lawsuits DSU faces over its decision to drop the equestrian program last week on FIRST.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.