Judge Rules Against Michigan State, but Reinstatement Not Mandated

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Photo Courtesy: Dan D'Addona

Judge Rules Against Michigan State, but Reinstatement Not Mandated

A district court judge on Tuesday ruled against Michigan State in a Title IX lawsuit brought by former swimmers, but the judge did not stipulate that the university must reinstate the programs.

The suit, brought in January 2021 by 11 swimmers and divers, originally had the request denied. But a motion was granted upon appeal and remand for consideration to U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou.

Jarbou is requiring the school to submit a Title IX compliance plan in the next 60 days. But her ruling, which was first reported by the Detroit Free Press, did not require reinstatement of the programs as part of compliance with Title IX.

Jarbou’s ruling acknowledges the validity of the university’s budgetary reasons for cutting swimming and diving. In part due to the expense of what would be essentially restarting a varsity program, Jarbou decreed that the university shouldn’t be required to spend the money to bring it back. But instead, Michigan State should direct resources to, “a sustainable course of compliance over the long term” to “reduce or eliminate the existing participation gap for women.”

The Battle for MSU Swim and Dive, a robust alumni-led campaign for reinstatement, has long argued that the financial impediment is overstated by the university. It has secured $10.85 million in pledges to partially fund a reinstated swim program.

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