Court dismisses lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University for sports reductions

YPSILANTI --  Late this afternoon, Eastern Michigan University received notification that the State of Michigan Court of Claims dismissed in its entirety a lawsuit brought against the University for its reduction of four sports. The Court's ruling can be found here

The lawsuit sought to nullify the University’s budget-related elimination of four sports programs, claiming the move was made in violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The University claimed it did not violate the Act because the Act does not apply to university boards when they consider administrative affairs, and because eliminating sports programs was an administrative decision that did not require Board of Regents approval. 

"As we stated from the beginning, the lawsuit was without merit in all regards. We are pleased the court agreed," said Geoff Larcom, the University's executive director of media relations. 

Background

The administration’s decision to eliminate the four sports programs -- men’s swimming and diving, wrestling, women’s tennis, and softball -- was extremely difficult. The decision affected 83 student athletes (58 male and 25 female).

The decision was timed (March 20, 2018) to ensure that the students affected had an opportunity to make plans about their futures should they wish to explore sports participation at another university. Several have already graduated and transferred. Student-athletes affected by the decision who decide to stay at Eastern will continue to receive their athletic scholarships for as long as they remain students and retain their institutional eligibility.
 
It is important to note that previously Eastern had 21 sports, which was more than any other university in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Eastern's new total of 17 sports is in the middle of the pack of the MAC and allows ther University to provide a solid level of support for each of the 17 programs. Eastern now maintains 10 female teams and seven male teams.
 
Several other universities in recent weeks and over the last year have taken action to reduce the number of sports they offer for similar budgetary reasons.

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August 31, 2018

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Contact:
Geoff Larcom
glarcom@emich.edu
734.487.4401