Judge rejects offer to reinstate UMN men’s gymnastics as lawsuit continues

March 3 – A federal judge has denied a University of Minnesota student-athlete’s request to reinstate the men’s gymnastics program while his trial is pending.

The Board of Regents voted in October 2020 to eliminate men’s gymnastics, along with tennis and indoor athletics, to reduce costs and better balance the number of sporting appearances between men and women under the title IX.

Gymnast Evan Ng sued a year later, accusing the U of sex discrimination and seeking a preliminary injunction ordering the U to rejoin the team.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson this week denied the injunction. She said an injunction is meant to maintain the status quo while a lawsuit is pending, but Ng waited more than a year to seek it, long after the program was scrapped; no gymnastics coach and only four former gymnasts remain at the U.

Nelson also rejected the injunction because Ng is unlikely to win his case. She cited a similar case to Title IX in the Eighth Circuit, Chalenor v. University of North Dakota, which sought to reinstate men’s wrestling at the University of North Dakota in 1999.

“The factual circumstances here are essentially the same as at Chalenor. The University asserts that budgetary and gender equity issues lead” to the program’s demise, Nelson wrote.

“As in Chalenor, the plaintiff claims that the budget issues are pretenses because the Friends (group of alumni) offered to fund the program…But the Eighth Circuit has already rejected those arguments and, therefore, it does not there is no chance of success on the merits of Plaintiff’s Title IX claim.

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