The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in investigating Racial discrimination claims against Central Michigan University. The claims come after the school severed the men’s track and field program in May 2020, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Bob Davies, the president of the university, denied all of the allegations during a press conferenced but assured the university is complying with the investigation.
Russel Dinkins made the racial discrimination complaint. As the executive director of the Tracksmith Foundation, Dinkins works to reinstate track programs that have been cut in colleges and universities across the country.
He said cutting the track and field programs left the university one sport short of the minimum to have a Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision. So in August 2021, the university conveniently said they would start a men’s golf team.
Dinkins claims that replacing the men’s track and field team with a men’s varsity golf team was discriminatory against African American students, according to the Detroit Free Press.
However, the “the allegations of racial discrimination are unfounded,” Davies said during a press conference on Thursday. He claimed the change was financial and “student success,’’ related.
From the Detroit Free Press:
CMU athletics suffered a $4.5 million decrease to its budget in the three years preceding the decision to cut the program, and it saved an actual cost of $625,000 last year, Davies said. The addition of golf was seen as one that was cost-efficient.
“To have a competitive track and field team, the cost is at least $1 million,” Davies said. “In the MAC, for competitive golf, is about half that.”
In an interview with the student-run university newspaper, Central Michigan Life, Dinkins said, “Our ask is simple: We want the men’s track and field program back due to the opportunities afforded along racial and socio-economic lines, and so it’s simple. The university, if they want this investigation to go away, they can make it go away tomorrow. They can bring back the men’s track and field program.”
In Thursday’s press conference, Davies has said that three out of the eight commitments to play on the golf team are people of color.
He also stands by the claim that the decision to cut track and field and add gold was independent, saying the golf was never meant to be a replacement.
Department of Education Office for Civil Rights intends to continue its investigation but still has not decided if the allegations are true, according to the Detroit Free Press.