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University faces Title IX suit filed by male athletes

A lawsuit filed Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati seeks to overturn the university’s decision to eliminate three men’s teams in order to meet the federal Title IX mandate that calls for equal opportunities for men and women in intercollegiate athletics.

The 12-page lawsuit, brought by the university’s wrestling club, soccer club and tennis club and nine current and former male students, alleges that the university discriminated against them on the basis of their sex. They maintain that the decision to cut the three sports violates their constitutional right to equal protection, as well as Title IX itself.

The students are seeking reinstatement of the three sports, unspecified damages and fees for their four attorneys, two of whom are affiliated with the Center for Individual Rights, a nonprofit organization that nationally has raised legal challenges to Title IX and affirmative action.

"This lawsuit is not about Miami. It’s about a national effort by some groups to fix what they feel is wrong with Title IX. If they think the law needs to be changed, they should take their case to Congress, rather than force us to spend student tuition dollars and tax funds on this litigation," said Richard Little, senior director of university communications.

Reverse discrimination lawsuits filed against other universities that have eliminated men’s sports to meet Title IX requirements have not been successful, Little noted.

Miami was faced with a $1 million-plus gap in Title IX compliance and could not afford to continue to add opportunities for women athletes, Little said. He explained that before the cuts, Miami offered 22 sports, more than 90 percent of universities nationwide and more than many larger universities such as Purdue, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

"The decision to cut three sports was a difficult one, taken only after extensive legal and financial reviews, the hiring of a national consultant and study by athletic policy committee, university senate and the board of trustees," Little said. He added that the university attempted to reduce the impact on student athletes by continuing scholarships for all those affected by the cuts.

Date Published: 12/02/1999
Volume: 19   Number: 18

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