MTSU Athletics Department under federal investigation following Title IX complaint

MTSU Horseshoe Stock Image
Photo by Chris Curtis

Photo by Chris Curtis

The MTSU Athletics Department is under federal investigation after a complaint was filed with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on November 19, 2015, alleging “discrimination on the basis of sex.”

On March 8, president Sidney McPhee received an email from Brian Gnandt, the acting compliance team leader for the investigation, requesting documents to further the investigation.

The OCR is responsible for enforcing Title IX, which reads:

 No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

In the letter to the university (attached), the OCR requests over 40 documents for the investigation. Among the documents requested are:

  • A list of all teams, including any coed teams, in the intercollegiate athletics program, the athletic conference and/or association in which each team is a member, the division level at which each team competes, and the date each team began intercollegiate competition.
  • A copy of any gender equity study concerning intercollegiate athletics conducted at the University since 1972, and a copy of all reports concerning gender equity in intercollegiate athletics prepared by the University since 1972.
  • Copies of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 budgets for the men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletic programs (by team and line item, if possible) and a record of the expenditures for each program (by team and line item, if available) for the 2014-2015 school year. Please also include team publicity and travel budgets.
  • Copies of any current publications and promotional materials of the athletic department(s) that are available to the general public, including press guides, recruitment brochures, schedule cards, Samples of game programs, and similar publications for each men’s and women’s team.
  • The number of participants of each sex on each team, the eligibility and/or squad lists for each team (for example, the NCAA squad list) for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years and the date on which each list was completed.
  • A list of the modes or methods of transportation (institutionally-owned vehicles—be specific as to car, van, bus, or plane; privately-owned vehicles; commercial vehicles— bus, train, or plane) used by each team for each competition in the 2014-2015 and 20152016 academic years; and, for each away competition, an indication of whether the team stayed overnight.

The letter goes on to request specific written policies, procedures and criteria such as:

  • Providing travel arrangements and per diem allowances
  • Determining the use and availability of locker rooms and practice and competitive facilities
  • Providing, maintaining, and replacing equipment and supplies, including any replacement schedules

When asked about the investigation, MTSU Associate Athletic Director Mark Owens told Sidelines, “There’s going to be no further comment.”

Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance Marian Wilson also declined Sidelines’ request for a comment.


For more on this case, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email 

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