Saturday, December 3, 2022

Judge rules MSU is not compliant with Title IX in women's swim team suit

August 9, 2022
<p>Junior breaststroker Kasey Venn prepares herself for the 100 Yard IM in the ready room during CCS Nationals at McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia on April 10, 2022. Venn won the event with a time of 58.07. </p>

Junior breaststroker Kasey Venn prepares herself for the 100 Yard IM in the ready room during CCS Nationals at McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia on April 10, 2022. Venn won the event with a time of 58.07.

Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

The district court judge for the women's swim and dive team lawsuit against MSU has ruled that the university is not compliant with Title IX. The university is not required to reinstate the team, but they were given 60 days to submit a plan to rectify the violation.

This ruling was a partial granting of the preliminary injunction that took place on July 21. It means there was a "substantial likelihood of a success on the merits" for a Title IX violation.

The women's swim and dive team attorney Lori Bullock said the lawsuit is still ongoing until the final trial in January.

"The ultimate goal of the lawsuit has always been in Title IX compliance, which may look like a swim and dive team being reinstated and that's what we were hoping MSU would do," Bullock said. "That's still absolutely an option that MSU has, to submit a compliance plan that reinstates the swim and dive team."

MSU has 60 days to submit a plan that will demonstrate they can bring their program into compliance.

"We're very encouraged by the judge granting of the preliminary injunction and the recognition that MSU was out of compliance with Title IX and that eliminating the women's team only exacerbated that problem," Bullock said.

MSU deputy spokesperson Dan Olsen said the university is looking to develop its compliance plan.

“We’re reviewing the court’s decision to determine appropriate next steps,” Olsen said.

Plaintiff Sophia Balow said she thinks the easiest way to solve the violation is to reinstate the team.

"It's easier than creating a different women's team, I mean the pool's there, the swimmers are there, the coach is there," Balow said. "It makes the most sense to just put the swim team back."

Balow remains hopeful after this ruling.

"Hopefully (MSU) can make the right decision and we can stop spending so much time and money on fighting each other on this and they can just put the women's team back in the pool," Balow said.

This comes after the university asked for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lawsuit last week. The group fighting for reinstatement, Battle for Spartan Swim and Dive, wrote a statement in reaction to the university's action.

"Battle for Spartan Swim and Dive is profoundly disappointed that MSU has chosen to take its fight with these women to the Supreme Court rather than working with our group of students, alumni, and supporters to restore the swim and dive teams, invest the millions pledged by Battle donors into the program, and reverse MSU’s terrible Title IX track record," the group said in a statement.

Balow said the university's appeal to the Supreme Court was disappointing.

"It's just annoying that it's been taking so long," Balow said. "I wish something would've happened six months ago, we could've figured this out before all these drastic measures were taken."

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