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.”

Officials planned to reduce GW’s undergraduate population by 20 percent while upping the share of STEM majors to 30 percent but later said the pandemic made the plan “obsolete.”

The men’s varsity rowing team was one of seven varsity teams officials terminated in August 2020 due to “growing financial concerns” they 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.

Anand Ramana, George’s attorney, did not immediately return a request for comment. Tim Pierce, a spokesperson for the University, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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