Pregnant athletes deal with loss of athletic scholarships

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - University of Memphis athlete Cassandra Harding says she was required to sign a document acknowledging that she could lose her track scholarship if she became pregnant.

Harding says she never thought she'd get pregnant, but she did toward the end of her sophomore year in October 2004 and gave birth to Assiah in July 2005.

She says she considered having an abortion to avoid losing her scholarship, but decided against it.

When the new school year began, Memphis declined to renew her scholarship, prompting Harding to borrow money and work part-time jobs to stay in school. Harding, whose interview with E-S-P-N on her experience will air tomorrow, later rejoined the track team as a walk-on and gained a partial scholarship.

Her teammate, Gail Lee, says male athletes who have babies aren't treated the same way. School officials declined to discuss Harding's case and N-C-Double-A officials say there are no national guidelines on how schools should handle athlete's pregnancies.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)