The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a gender equality case involving Michigan State University’s abolition of its swimming and diving program for women.
A group of 11 female swimmers and divers have challenged the university’s decision to eliminate its combined men’s and women’s swim and dive team due to financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The women said Michigan State’s decision violated Title IX, the federal ban against sex discrimination in education, and sought to reinstate the female half of the team.
A federal court sided with the female athletes, saying the percentage gap created by the team’s elimination was not large enough to violate civil rights law.
But the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that the lower court did not calculate the percentage discrepancy accurately.
The issue for the high court was exactly how courts should calculate representation to decide when women are underrepresented in a school’s athletic program, running counter to Title IX.
The Supreme Court declined to settle the mathematical and legal dispute, leaving the 6th Circuit’s ruling in effect. The court did not give a reason for refusing to hear the case.
It would have taken four judges to vote in favor of hearing the legal battle.
The case is Michigan State University and the Michigan State University Board of Trustees v. Sophia Balow.