Iowa Swimming and Diving Student Athletes Continue Pursuing Title IX Lawsuit

Last Updated on February 22, 2021

UPDATE: Iowa has reinstated women’s swimming and diving

In September, four female Hawkeye swimming and diving student athletes filed a complaint in district court alleging Title IX violations after finding out they were among the cut sports. In December, Judge Stephanie Rose granted an injunction that prevents the school from cutting the women’s swimming and diving team, which was quickly appealed by the University. Yesterday, the student athletes posted the $360,000 bond required by the judge, showing they intend to stay the course with this potentially lengthy legal battle.

The bond is to cover costs the University incurs in keeping the team active in case the university prevails in the case. The concern was that the student athletes might drop their case if their eligibility is complete before there is a ruling or settlement in the case.

The case alleges Iowa was already violating Title IX prior to cutting swimming and diving. It was filed as a class action so that any current or prospective female student athlete at Iowa can join. The case isn’t seeking monetary damages but instead is focused on getting swimming and diving reinstated and having other female sports added to Iowa’s roster.

The case was initially filed by Hawkeye swimmers Kelsey Drake, Christina Kaufman, Sage Ohlensehlen and Alexa Puccini.

The University’s statement issued in response cites a 2019 review by the Office of Civil Rights and argues the University is not violating Title IX. The cuts were said to be made due to estimated budget shortfalls because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cut Sports Reinstated After Title IX Questions

Dozens of Division I programs have been cut since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many sports have been reinstated after legal action was threatened over potential Title IX violations. William & Mary, Dartmouth and Brown have all reinstated multiple sports cut last year.

Michigan State’s women’s swimming and diving team has also filed a class action lawsuit alleging Title IX violations, which is still pending. However, the judge has recently denied a request by the student athletes for an injunction.

We are tracking cut sports in Division I here.

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