Judge Orders Eastern Michigan University to Reinstate Sports Teams
A federal court has ordered Eastern Michigan University to reinstate its women’s tennis and softball teams a year after the programs were discontinued by the school to cut its overall budget.
Last week, George Caram Steeh, a U.S District Court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, held the university guilty of violating Title IX and causing “irreparable harm” by failing to provide equal opportunities for its male and female students.
“Indeed, given the current disparity between participation opportunities for men and women at EMU, the reinstatement of the tennis and softball teams represents only one step in the direction of the university’s compliance with Title IX,” the judge wrote in his order.
Earlier this month, the university argued before the court that it would rather start a women’s lacrosse team, which officials claimed would generate more revenue for the school, instead of reinstating its women’s softball program. This proposal was outright rejected by the judge.
Last year, the university announced the elimination of four sports including softball, wrestling, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s tennis due to a budget deficit. The move affected 58 male student-athletes and 25 female student-athletes, with many of them suing the university in the federal court.
Meanwhile, the university has said that it will comply with the court order and take the next steps accordingly.
“We are aware of Judge Steeh’s ruling in this matter,” university spokesman Geoff Larcom told the Detroit Free Press. “As we have stated previously, we are determined to meet our Title IX obligations completely and efficiently. We will be studying the ruling and determining next steps in the days ahead.”