Live Updates: Tracking the men’s rowing lawsuit

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

The captain of the team filed a lawsuit against GW in the D.C. Superior Court earlier this month, calling on a judge to require the University to reinstate the team as a varsity sport.

The men’s varsity rowing team was one of seven varsity teams officials terminated in August 2020 due to “growing financial concerns” officials said were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The termination went into effect following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. After the announcement, program alumni offered to fund the program to protect its varsity status, but the University declined the alumni’s offer without providing a statement.

Here’s the latest on the status of the suit:


Apr 17, 2022 at 10:50 PM
Men’s rowing captain doubles down on team’s varsity status lawsuit

The men’s rowing team’s captain filed a motion requesting an injunction that would require the University to reinstate the varsity status of the team Wednesday.

Patrick George’s motion is similar to an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order that George, who has been a member of the rowing team since 2018, filed last week, which a judge denied last Thursday. The new motion was joined with statements from two of George’s head rowing coaches – Mark Davis and Eric Gehrke – who each supported George’s claims and said they were confused by GW’s decision to cut men’s rowing.

“I did not believe Men’s Rowing would be cut because our team met a lot of metrics within the GW community, including: we had high male enrollment and GW was seeking to raise the percentage of male attendees,” Gehrke said in the documents. “We had high STEM enrollment and GW was seeking to improve the STEM fields of study in the University, we had a strong alumni representation, and we were regularly one of GW’s highest ranked sports nationally.”

-Zach Blackburn


April 8, 2022 at 12:24 p.m.
Federal judge denies request to reinstate varsity status of men’s rowing team

A federal judge denied an emergency motion from the men’s rowing team’s captain Thursday afternoon that would have required the University to reinstate the varsity status of the team.

D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell denied Patrick George’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, which would have prohibited GW from cancelling the varsity status of the rowing team, but a broader suit against the University and a request for documents regarding the termination of the team’s varsity status are still pending. The denial is a blow to George’s attempt to retain the team’s varsity standing for the current season, which started with a regatta against Georgetown University Saturday.

Attorneys for the University filed their opposition to George’s motion before Thursday’s hearing, calling the request an “attempted abuse” of the restraining order process. The memo argues none of George’s charges against the University are “viable” and that there were no grounds for an injunction from the court.

“George has not pled sufficient facts to support any viable legal claim against GW,” the memo states. “Much less that he is likely to succeed on the merits of any of those claims.”

-Zach Blackburn


April 5, 2022 at 4:18 p.m.
GW lawyers move lawsuit to reinstate men’s rowing before federal court

A lawsuit filed by the captain of men’s rowing last week to reinstate the team as a varsity sport has moved to federal court.

University lawyers filed a motion Monday to move the case from D.C. Superior Court to the D.C. District Court as GW still awaits an official summons. Patrick George – a fourth-year student and the captain of the men’s rowing team – sued the University in D.C. Superior Court Friday, alleging the University defrauded him, breached its contract and engaged in deceptive trade practices in failing to renew his athletic scholarship for the upcoming academic year.

GW’s attorneys contested that the case is subject to federal court because of Title 28 of the U.S. code that establishes “diversity of citizenship,” giving district courts original jurisdiction over controversies that exceed $75,000 and involve citizens of foreign states.

-Zach Blackburn


April 4, 2022 at 2:23 a.m.
Rowing team captain sues GW to reinstate team’s varsity status

The captain of the men’s rowing team filed a lawsuit against GW in the D.C. Superior Court Friday, calling on a judge to require the University to reinstate the team as a varsity sport.

In a 20-page complaint, Patrick George – a fourth-year student who has been a member of the rowing team since 2018 – alleged GW defrauded him, breached its contract and engaged in deceptive trade practices in failing to renew his athletic scholarship for the upcoming academic year. The lawsuit calls for an immediate emergency restraining order requiring GW to reinstate men’s rowing as a varsity sport and provide compensation for damages if George’s athletic scholarship is not renewed and for attorney fees.

“Mr. George’s final attempts to resuscitate the Men’s Rowing Team have fallen on GW’s deaf ears,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. George now brings this suit to compel GW to return the Men’s Rowing Team to varsity status and fulfill its promises and other legal obligations to him.”

-Nuria Diaz and Zach Blackburn


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