July 10, 2007

Ex-Fresno State coach wins multi-million $$ lawsuit against the school!

I hate to say it, but Fresno State has a history of robbing the poor (women's sports programs) to feed the rich (men's football and basketball).  Volleyball coach Lindy Vivas was fired for standing up to them, so she took them to court.

And won.  $5.85 MILLION.  And guess what?  She's not the only one.  There are two more lawsuits pending, including one from the former women's basketball coach that ought to blow the doors off the good ol' boys club that is the FSU athletic office.

A jury on Monday awarded a former Fresno State volleyball coach $5.85 million in damages, ruling that the school discriminated against her for speaking up on behalf of female athletes.

Lindy Vivas, 50, was fired in 2004, two years after coaching her team to its best season in history. University officials said Vivas was let go because she did not meet performance goals and ran a program that often played in empty arenas.

Vivas sued in civil court, saying her contract was not renewed because she raised her voice to advocate for equal treatment of women athletes and access to facilities at Fresno State, a Division I school with a sprawling central California campus.

The jury award, which took into account Vivas' back wages, future lost pay and emotional distress, is likely the largest ever granted to a coach suing for retaliation under Title IX, a landmark federal law requiring gender equity in scholastic athletics, said the coach's lawyer, Dan Siegel.

"Fresno State wants to be a big-time athletic power, but it has to start acting like one. That means treating men and women the same," Siegel said. "This is a complete vindication of her and who Lindy is as a person, as a coach, and what she had to live with as a result of their actions."

The university, of course, released a statement whining about pretrial publicity influencing the jury. Umm? Dude. You're FRESNO STATE. Get a few male football fans on that jury, you shouldn't have had to worry, but you STILL LOST. Get over yourselves. The athletic office has screwed women's sports programs six ways from Sunday. It's time you were held accountable for it.

Read the whole thing here, or the local article here.

Posted by caltechgirl at July 10, 2007 08:15 AM | TrackBack

"The athletic office has screwed women's sports programs six ways from Sunday. It's time you were held accountable for it."

How does making the taxpayers (i.e., you) shell out for a jury award hold anyone responsible? That's the problem in suing a public school.

Posted by: Dave J at July 14, 2007 09:04 AM