Appeals Court Sides with MSU Swimmers, Lower Court to Revisit Title IX Case

by Spencer Penland 0

February 09th, 2022 Big Ten, College, News

Last week, a group of former Michigan State University swimmers took a small step forward in their battle to revive the women’s swimming & diving program at MSU. In a 2-1 decision, a federal appeals court voted to send the case back to lower court to be re-heard. In January of 2021, Federal judge Hala Jarbou ruled against the women’s swimmers, denying their claims that the elimination of the women’s swim & dive programs put MSU out of compliance with Title IX.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reached the decision last week, ruled that the lower court had incorrectly calculated the “participation gap,” which is a key element of the Title IX guidelines. Title IX is anti-discrimination legislation most notably focuses on ensuring an equal amount of opportunity for male and female athletes to compete at the collegiate level.

So, what does this mean? As of right now, nothing major, but it may open the door to much more substantive movement down the road. In short, judge Hala originally denied the request for an injunction made by the group of athletes, essentially saying she didn’t believe the group could win a Title IX litigation battle with Michigan State University. The group of swimmers and divers then moved on to the appeals court, who last week ruled that Judge Hala miscalculated how the elimination of the program effected MSU’s Title IX compliance. Now, the case will be heard again in the lower court, meaning it’s possible the judge will rule in favor of the former MSU athletes this time around.

Battle for Spartan Swimming & Diving, the biggest group attempting to revive the MSU swim & dive programs, posted this press release on their Facebook page recently.

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