The University of Iowa has reinstated its women’s swimming and diving team as a result of a court order related to an ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit against the institution, the athletics department announced Monday.
Members of the swim and diving team argue in their lawsuit against the university that officials violated federal law by cutting the team. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded institutions and requires they provide equal athletic opportunities for women and men. The university initially planned to discontinue men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and men’s gymnastics after the 2020-21 academic year due to pandemic-related budget shortfalls, but an Iowa district court judge ordered in December that the university wait to discontinue the swim team until the lawsuit is resolved.
University officials continue to maintain that cutting women’s swimming and diving is not a violation of Title IX, but they “decided it is in the best interests of the student-athletes, coaches, and the athletics department to voluntarily reinstate the program, regardless of any outcome related to the lawsuit,” according to a press release from the athletics department.
The court-ordered reinstatement has caused “uncertainty” among current athletes and recruits, Athletic Director Gary Barta said in the press release.