ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) - The women’s tennis team at St. Cloud State University will likely be around for another season — despite the school announcing plans to cut the team. The development follows a ruling from a federal judge.
The women’s tennis team was one of several teams the university planned to cut in order to save money. However, players on the tennis team sued, arguing the cuts disproportionately affected female athletes — a possible violation of Title IX.
On Monday, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction, ordering the school to keep the women’s tennis team going until a final decision is made in the lawsuit. As part of the judge’s analysis, he concluded the players “demonstrated that they have a fair chance of succeeding on the merits of their Title IX claim,” and referred to some of the numbers used by the school in its defense as “debatable.”
“We’re absolutely delighted, not only for the tennis team, but for the entire St. Cloud community. And frankly, for women’s sports throughout the country,” Don Marks, an attorney at Fafinski Mark & Johnson representing the players, told Fox 9.
While SCSU has close to an equal number of male and female students, SCSU has 116 more male athletes.
Alexi Portz, a player on the team, told Fox 9 the team was “thrilled’ with the decision. Jill Kedrowski, another player, said she hopes the lawsuit inspires other female athletes to fight for their rights.
“Women should have just the same opportunities men have,” Kedrowski said. “Elementary school athletes look up to us college athletes, just like us college athletes look up to professional athletes. They look up to us and hopefully understand if you believe in something, it’s worth fighting for.”
A spokesperson for St. Cloud State declined to comment due to the litigation, but said the school will comply with the order.
The other women’s team cut, nordic skiing, did not sue and will become a club team.