UND recently decided to scrap it’s women’s ice hockey program. As a result, 11 “former members of the now-defunct University of North Dakota women’s hockey program filed a discrimination lawsuit against the North Dakota University System in U.S. District Court” earlier this week.
The University of North Dakota’s women’s ice hockey has long been known for producing top-notch athletes and has even managed to attract Olympic medalists to its program ever since it began in 2002. For example, in February of this year the school team had five Olympic medalists and in 2014 it had eight. Unfortunately, UND recently decided to scrap it’s women’s ice hockey program. As a result, 11 “former members of the now-defunct University of North Dakota women’s hockey program filed a discrimination lawsuit against the North Dakota University System in U.S. District Court” earlier this week.
The goal of the lawsuit is to see the popular program reinstated. When commenting on the matter, Dan Siegel, the lawyer for the plaintiff’s said, “That’s our No. 1, No. 2 … all the way to No. 10 goal. We want the university to start playing women’s ice hockey again.” He added that the 11 player’s aren’t seeking damages other than the cost of court fees.
In addition to wanting the hockey program reinstated, the lawsuit also alleges that “UND violated Title IX through the selection of sports and level of competition.” It’s important to note that Title IX “does not require schools to offer particular sports or the same sports, but it requires that schools effectively accommodate student interests and abilities.” Given the popularity and interest in the women’s hockey program among student-athletes, the lawsuit argues the school did not “accommodate student interests and abilities.”
All 11 of the former players included in the suit were active members of the women’s hockey program when it was “cut and had college eligibility remaining.” As a result of the school’s decision to end the program, they all had to transfer to other schools in order to continue playing the sport they loved. According to the lawsuit, the 11 players include, “Breanna Berndsen, Kristen Campbell, Charly Dahlquist, Taylor Flaherty, Ryleigh Houston, Anna Kilponen, Rebekah Kolstad, Sarah Lecavalier, Alyssa MacMillan, Annelise Rice and Abbey Stanley.”
While discussing the lawsuit and the allegations, Siegel said:
“I’m hoping UND would decide to take the right approach to this case and will agree to sit down and see if we can work it out. The sooner we work it out, the sooner the program could be put back to work and the less money UND will spend fighting the case and less money we will spend fighting the case. Hopefully, we can get an early resolution.”
So far UND has yet to comment on the matter.