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Path to swim and dive reinstatement 'not viable,' trustees say

December 16, 2022
The MSU Swim and Dive Team stands at the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 28, 2022.
The MSU Swim and Dive Team stands at the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 28, 2022.

The MSU swim and dive team's path to reinstatement may be halted following a report from budget and finance committee chair Melanie Foster at a Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 16.

Foster said it would take too much time to establish a program aligned with the intercollegiate athletic department's standards and support for students "on and off the playing field."

She cited two reasons why reinstatement would be difficult: the long-term need for a facility and the cost-sharing arrangement between MSU athletics and external fundraising.

"We do not see a viable path to establish a swim and dive program," Foster said. "Most prohibitively, without sufficient existing fundraising, there is not a path to build a new competition pool without assessing a fee to the entire student body."

This announcement comes a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not accept MSU's request to hear the ongoing Title IX lawsuit from members of the women's swim and dive team. These women argue that removing the women's team increased the participation gap between male and female opportunities at MSU, therefore creating a Title IX violation.

The district court judge ruled that MSU was out of compliance with Title IX at an Aug. 9 hearing, giving the university time to submit a compliance plan.

MSU brought this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a previous ruling's interpretation of Title IX is wrong specifically with its measurement of the participation gap — instead of looking at individual numbers of men versus women participating in sports, MSU and its supporting universities said it should be looking at percentages.

Time is ticking for MSU to submit its Title IX compliance plan to the district court. It could include reinstatement of the women's team but at the final trial in January, the judge will make a final decision based on the plan MSU submits.

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