Eastern Michigan University has stated repeatedly in court filings and in public statements that its overarching priority in this situation is to meet its Title IX obligations completely and in a way that most benefits student-athletes. The University stands behind its filing with the the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the district court order, pending the outcome of the University's appeal of that order. The University believes the lower court's preliminary injunction was an overreach, essentially placing it in the role of athletic director and determining which sports the University should have.
This is particularly important since the University presented and is prepared to provide a solution that more comprehensively addresses its Title IX responsibilities by adding more women student athletes to its rosters through the addition of women's lacrosse and expansion of other women's sports - actions that significantly increase the number of women student athletes more than would occur under the district court's order. The Plaintiffs' Response mischaracterizes the University's position in this regard. The University is committed to providing more opportunities for women student athletes. In fact, the University's initial actions in eliminating sports in March 2018 helped narrow the participation gap between female and male student athletes -- considerably more male students athletes were impacted by the decision than female.
The University plans to file its Reply to the Plaintiffs' Response by next Monday as required.
It is important to note that the decision to reduce the number of sports offered at Eastern Michigan was designed to put the University in alignment with our Mid-American Conference (MAC) counterparts, including Central Michigan and Western Michigan. At the time of the reduction, Eastern offered 21 sports, the most in the MAC. This was not sustainable in the long term, and was similar to the reduction of four sports taken by the University at Buffalo (another MAC school) in 2017.
The University's actions reflect its determined efforts to be fiscally responsible and to realign resources in order to continue to invest in the academic success, and the support of, students. An example of that is evident in this semester's opening of the newly renovated and expanded Strong Hall, the final project in the University's Science Complex, with state-of-the-art facilities and lab space for students interested in STEM careers. Eastern continues to invest in its future.