Texas women’s rowing finally has a national championship, two years after finishing runner-up in 2019. 

With a time of 6:17.387 in the varsity eights grand final, the Longhorn women took first in the race and first overall, winning their first national title in the NCAA rowing championship.

Texas, Stanford and Washington finished in a three-way tie with 126 points in the standings, with varsity eights’ results being the tie-breaker. Stanford and Washington finished second and third respectively in the varsity eights, while Michigan, Rutgers and Virginia rounded out the final heat.

The grand final for the varsity fours saw Washington win in a time of 7:02.12 with Stanford coming in second and Texas third. 

Due to inclement weather, the awards ceremony was cancelled.

The UConn women’s rowing team is safe, for now. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order this week preventing the university from eliminating the program until at least Aug. 2.

The team filed a Title IX lawsuit against UConn back in April, arguing that in cutting the program the university was no longer in compliance with the law.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Underhill ruled Wednesday that it was likely the rowers would prevail in their Title IX lawsuit against the university. Underhill said there is compelling evidence that UConn has failed to comply with Title IX since 2008 and has been inflating the number of student-athletes on its women’s teams to suggest otherwise.

“Plaintiffs have shown that it is substantially likely that UConn is not presently in compliance with Title IX’s effective-accommodation mandate, and cutting the women’s rowing team would only exacerbate that noncompliance by magnifying UConn’s disparity in athletic participation opportunities,” the judge wrote.

The restraining order will last until at least Aug. 2, when a hearing on a preliminary injunction will take place.

Twelve members of the UConn women’s rowing team have filed a federal Title IX lawsuit asking the university to reinstate their team. UConn plans to cut the program at the end of the season due to budget limitations.

The rowers argue that, in eliminating the team, UConn is failing to comply with Title IX under the first prong of a three-part test. That standard states that the number of female athletes to male athletes needs to be proportional to that of female to male undergraduates.

The lawsuit says that UConn’s athletic programs, without women’s rowing, would no longer represent the student population proportionally.

Additionally, the complaint states that UConn is out of compliance based on rosters and is manipulating numbers to satisfy Title IX requirements. Coach Jen Sanford says, according to the lawsuit, that she was directed to keep more rowers on her team than needed in order to satisfy Title IX requirements.

According to the school’s annual filing with the NCAA, the team has a roster of 38 rowers but had 62 participants in the program in 2020.

UConn said last June that it aimed to reduce its athletic deficit by about $10 million a year. The operating expenses for the women’s rowing team totaled $1,345,104 in the 2020 fiscal year.

On the same day that the rowers filed the lawsuit, UConn approved a $70 million plan for a new on-campus ice hockey rink.

The rowing team protested the university’s decision on campus last week after they received no response to formal Title IX complaints filed with the university on March 29 and April 12. In the letters, the team warned university officials that a lawsuit would be filed if the program were not reinstated.

Felice Duffy, a Title IX lawyer who successfully petitioned to establish a women’s soccer team at UConn in 1979, is representing the rowers. She’s joined by James Larew and Claire Diallo, who recently represented swimmers at the University of Iowa who had their program reinstated.

The UConn rowers are also seeking an injunction that would keep the team intact until the lawsuit can be heard. At present, the team is set to be eliminated at the end of its season. That could come as early as May 16 with the Colonial Athletic Association championship or as late as May 28-30 with the conclusion of the NCAA championships.