March 9, 2011
A federal appeals court has upheld James Madison University's decision to eliminate 10 sports teams to achieve gender balance.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal judge's dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Equity in Athletics Inc., a coalition of student athletes, coaches, parents and fans. The organization sued after JMU announced in 2006 that it was cutting seven men's teams and three women's teams to comply with Title IX, the 1972 federal law requiring gender equality in men's and women's intercollegiate sports.
In a unanimous ruling Monday, the appeals court rejected the group's claim that the move violated the equal protection rights of male athletes by failing to consider that proportionately more men than women want to participate in sports.