Eastern Michigan University appears to be preparing to bring back women's softball and tennis, after a federal judge ruled last month that the school's decision to cut the two sports earlier this year violated the spirit of Title IX legislation.
The university announced this week that it will hold "interest meetings" for both sports, open to current students at the school.
A meeting for women's tennis will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 13; a meeting for softball will follow at 3:30 p.m. the same day. Both meetings will take place in Room G03 of the Halle Library Auditorium.
Eastern Michigan announced in March it was cutting the two women's sports, plus men's wrestling and swimming and diving, in an effort to save $2.4 million a year.
Since that decision, there has been significant outcry among the affected sports teams, and at least two lawsuits against the university.
The one lawsuit that gained traction was filed in June by two former student-athletes, one a tennis player and one a softball player. Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, in Ypsilanti, granted a preliminary injunction in a 37-page decision in October. He ruled that financial hardships aren't a reason to violate Title IX legislation. For years, Eastern Michigan's student-athlete population has been significantly more male than the student-body breakdown, which is mostly female.
Lawyers for the two student-athletes — tennis player Marie Mayerova and softball player Ariana Chretien — and university lawyers met in court Oct. 23, and both sides reported progress, but no final resolution. They will meet again Nov. 27.
Lawyers for the two student-athletes said one holdup is the Mid-American Conference, which they say has refused to add Eastern Michigan tennis and softball back on to the spring calendar. The MAC has denied those claims, saying, "Nothing could be further from the facts. The Mid-American Conference is not a party in the pending lawsuit."