Eastern Michigan University announced it will reinstate women's tennis in spring following a conference call Tuesday between EMU lawyers and two students who sued the university in June claiming it violated the spirit of Title IX with its decision last year to drop women's tennis and softball and men's wrestling and swimming and diving.
Tennis player Marie Mayerova and softball player Ariana Chretien saw their case reach the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan in Ypsilanti, where EMU is located. Judge George Caram Steeh wrote in late September that financial hardships weren't an excuse to limit athletic opportunities for female student-athletes and ordered the university and the two student litigants to work toward a resolution. Tuesday's conference session was the second since Steeh granted a preliminary injunction in October.
EMU, citing a potential $2.4 million in annual budget savings, cut the four sports programs in March. According to The Detroit News, the university's general student body is predominantly female, while it's student-athlete population skews male, which runs afoul of Title IX's precepts.
The university issued a statement Tuesday, which read, "Eastern Michigan University continues to work productively with the plaintiffs and the court in the Title IX lawsuit, as well as other campus constituencies, to develop viable opportunities for increasing women’s athletic participation. As an initial step, we have hired a tennis coach and are proceeding to bring back that sport for spring 2019. We plan to continue to work with the plaintiffs and the court to identify practical permanent solutions that keep the university in compliance with our federal responsibilities and provide the best environment for our students."
There is no word yet on the fate of softball. The university held informal meetings earlier this month for athletes interested in playing tennis or softball. The tennis meeting drew one participant, while softball had 18 participants.