Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Wrestling Coach Sues Over Title IX: The wrestling coach at the University of Minnesota has sued the university for gender discrimination stemming from the manner in which the school has implemented Title IX.

Title IX forms the basis of my piece that will be published this month in the Harvard Journal on Legislation (no link available yet, but it is v.41, p.319). In one part of the piece, I discuss that male athletes have been held to have no recourse against cutbacks in, or the elimination of, their sports at universities attempting to comply with Title IX (internal citations omitted).

"Male participants in non-revenue sports appear to have little legal recourse against the elimination of their sports. Recently, in Miami University Wrestling Club v. Miami University, the Sixth Circuit held that Miami (Ohio) University’s decision to eliminate its wrestling team to comply with Title IX did not constitute gender discrimination. Referencing the 1996 OCR Clarification, the Court conceded that 'universities and other recipients of federal funds do not have infinite money supplies.' Therefore, the court continued, '[i]f a university cannot afford to add sports teams in order to provide equal athletic opportunity for men and women, it may be forced to subtract in order to equalize.'"

Thus, it does not appear that the coach's suit will go very far, but perhaps it can help spark a debate over how to protect non-revenue male sports from extinction.