Minnesota gymnast sues university to end sex-based discrimination
October 29, 2021
Minneapolis; October 29, 2021: Today, a gymnast who competed on the University of Minnesota men’s varsity gymnastics team filed a lawsuit challenging the university’s decision to eliminate his team to decrease the number of male athletes at the university.
In the fall of 2020, the University of Minnesota announced it would be eliminating the men’s gymnastics team after the 2020-21 school year under the mistaken belief that federal Title IX law requires the proportion of male athletes to match the proportion of males in the student body.
“Limiting opportunities for athletes to compete in school sports, like we’ve seen at the University of Minnesota, by establishing sex-based quotas is clearly unlawful,” said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Caleb Trotter. “This kind of sex-based discrimination is precisely what Title IX and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause forbid. Simply eliminating men’s programs does nothing to create more opportunities for women.”
Evan Ng, a gymnast since he was a child, was devastated when the school announced the elimination of the men’s gymnastics team at the start of his freshman year. He’d received scholarship offers from other schools, but it was Coach Mike Burns at the University of Minnesota who provided the best fit for Ng.
“I just want the opportunity to compete with my teammates,” said Evan Ng. “For the University of Minnesota to take that away from us, just because of our sex, is wrong.”
Coach Burns hasn’t given up on bringing back the storied gymnastics program, and neither will Evan Ng. With the lawsuit, Ng hopes the school will reinstate the nearly 120-year-old program that has produced Olympic athletes as recently as Tokyo 2020.
The case is Ng v. Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.