University of Iowa Permanently Reinstates Previously Cut Sport
[UPDATE 2/16/21]: Despite the University's decision to reinstate this athletic program, the Des Moines Register says Jim Larew, the lawyer at the head of the Title IX lawsuit that was filed against the University says it's still just a "first step" and the suit will stay intact, as he fights the University to add an additional sport, potentially women's rugby or wrestling to give female student-athletes more athletic opportunities.
[ORIGINAL STORY]: According to a story from KWWL, the University of Iowa athletic department has retracted its previous decision to permanently cut the women's swimming and diving program as a budget reduction measure.
The program was competing in what it believed would be its final year after it was announced last summer it would be among several placed on the chopping block.
Shortly thereafter, a handful of female swimmers at the University of Iowa issued a Title IX lawsuit, and in December, an injunction was ordered by a federal judge, mandating the program temporarily be allowed to continue.
While Barta insists that the University continues to disagree with claims made in the lawsuit, he pointed to the strain the additional uncertainty a continued court battle would present for an extended period of time, for his department and the athletes involved, saying in a statement:
We made the decision the right thing to do was to reinstate the women’s swimming and diving program and remove any uncertainty moving forward for our current student-athletes as well as high school swimmers considering attending the University of Iowa
Football may also be a potential saving grace as, despite its own challenges due to the pandemic, it still brought the athletic department's deficit down from approximately $75 million to around $50-60 million.
Men's swimming and diving, men's gymnastics, and men's tennis were also set for elimination and unfortunately, after concluding the 2020-21 season, will not be reinstated at this time.