Chicago-Based Law Firm Calls on Brown to Reinstate 8 Varsity Teams, Including Golf

On behalf of the Coalition of Student-Athletes at Brown University, Chicago-based law firm of Winston & Strawn have filed a letter with Brown President Christina Paxson calling on her to reinstate the eight varsity teams that were cut. 

Brown golf was cut back in May. PHOTO: Brown Athletics

As GolfNewsRI reported, Brown announced back in May that it was cutting eight varsity teams including the men’s and women’s golf teams as part of its “Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.” 

“I was honored to be recruited by Brown and thrilled at the prospect of competing this fall. To not have the opportunity to compete is disappointing, but not as hurtful as being misled by a school in which I placed my trust. Competing at this level is part of who I am, and I would have preferred to choose a college knowing the truth,” said Alexis Kim, rising freshman and member of the Women’s Golf Team in a statement.

The Winston & Strawn team is led by Co-Executive Chairman and leading sports law attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, and Winston sports law partner Jonathan Amoona. 

“Brown’s purposeful misrepresentations and material omissions run counter to Rhode Island law. This law dictates that universities, like all other businesses, must act with honesty and in good faith.  Brown fell well short of this legal duty when it concealed the fact that it was planning, since at least January, on eliminating a number of its varsity teams even though it has repeatedly acknowledged it had no economic need to do so.  The school waited until it was too late for the affected student athletes to transfer, and then took action so that their participation on varsity teams – a key part of their experience at Brown – would be ripped away,” said Kessler. 

Brown Eliminating Sports 

PHOTO: Brown Athletics

According to the press release from Winston and Strawn, despite a long history of success, Brown eliminated these programs immediately and without notice to the athletes (or their coaches) in the middle of a global pandemic.  

It has since been revealed that the University engaged in a years-long secret process of eliminating teams while it continued to recruit athletes to compete in programs that would no longer exist.  

Brown withheld this information knowing full well that it was highly material to the students’ academic, athletic, and financial decision-making processes. 

According to the press release, by the time the University revealed its decision to the affected student-athletes, it was too late for them to transfer to comparable schools and resume (or for recruits, begin) their varsity careers.

As a result of Brown’s actions, student-athletes have been placed in the position of waiting a full year before they can return to varsity competition at another institution, or in the case of rising freshmen, begin their varsity careers.  

Rising seniors currently have no options to compete in their last year of varsity play without postponing their education.

Brown Golf 

The Bears men’s golf team is coached by Michael Hughes and had a roster of eight players for the 2019-20 season, including four seniors. 

The men’s team played in four tournaments prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting everything down with their best finish coming at the Hamptons Intercollegiate in October – they came in ninth. 

The men’s home course was Metacomet Golf Club, which is in its last summer after a group including Brad Faxon decided to sell it after just one year. 

The women’s golf team was coached by Jackie Beck and consisted of nine players, according to the roster. 

The women’s best finish in the 2019-20 season was second in the Sacred Heart Fall Classic. 

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