U. of Iowa Settles Male Track Coach Discrimination Lawsuit - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

U. of Iowa Settles Male Track Coach Discrimination Lawsuit

by David Pitt, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa ― The University of Iowa confirmed Wednesday it will pay nearly $200,000 to a male track coach and his attorneys to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit alleging the man was passed over for a job because administrators wanted a woman.

Mike Scott, who was a volunteer assistant in the university’s track program, applied for the position of assistant track coach in 2012. He believed he was qualified to replace the departing assistant coach ― a woman ― since he was already working in her areas, including pole vault and vertical jumps. Scott alleges he was warned that administrators wanted a woman and that then-Director of Track and Field Larry Wieczorek even joked that a sex change might improve his prospects.

Scott was a finalist, but another male was recommended for the job and rejected by the administration. A second search failed when a preferred female candidate accepted another job. The program then gave Scott an 11-month contract as an assistant, with the understanding that another search would occur after the 2012-2013 season.

Scott alleges administrators rewrote the job description, which disqualified him and duplicated other coaches’ specialties. Scott didn’t apply and the third search failed, so the university again rewrote the description so that it was more general. Scott applied but didn’t get an interview for the fourth search. The job went to Molly Jones, who had been a volunteer assistant at Florida State for two years.

Scott’s attorneys uncovered a June 4, 2013, email in which track and field coach Layne Anderson tells assistants that he had rewritten the position’s job description in a way to attract more female candidates. “It is once again largely driven by the mandate from the administration to hire a female …” Anderson wrote in an email.

Any gender-based mandate would violate university policy and Iowa law, which bar discrimination in employment, and the university has denied discriminating against Scott. School spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said the university interviewed men and women for the job and the athletic department hired the person it deemed most qualified.

“The university does not agree with Mr. Scott that he was discriminated against based upon his gender, but resolution of disputes by mutual agreement, after mediation, is beneficial for all involved and brings the matter to a close,” she said in a statement.

The agreement, which pays Scott’s attorneys nearly $81,000 and Scott $20,000 for past wages and $97,222 to settle all claims, says there’s no admission of discrimination by the university.

Scott’s attorneys said his goal was to expose sex discrimination in college athletics ― against both sexes.

“It is rare for a supervisor to admit to discrimination in an email to subordinates, but that is exactly what happened in this case,” Nate Borland and Brooke Timmer said in a statement. “The state’s decision to settle was wise considering its own employees wrote about the administration’s ‘mandate’ that a woman be hired for the position.”

Scott, who is now an assistant coach at Missouri State, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Being a Good Ally Much has been said, as must be said, about the African-American graduate student at Yale University who was reported by a White peer to the campus police for napping in a common room. I can identify. In stating my sympathy as an Asian American, howev...
Running for Maryland Governor, Ben Jealous Puts Focus on Education Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous on the stump. BALTIMORE — On a recent Saturday, Benjamin Todd Jealous was up early, getting ready for a full day of campaign stops. The former president of the National Association for the Advancement ...
The Case for Diversity I'm a privileged, old White guy who won the ovary lottery. Consequently, I was able to grow up in the right ZIP code and take advantage of the opportunities afforded to me by sheer dumb luck. As a result, I wound up being an academic surgeon and w...
OSU Names Scholar Moore Vice Provost for Diversity, Inclusion The Ohio State University has named Dr. James L. Moore III, a prominent researcher and scholar, as its next vice provost for diversity and inclusion. Moore – the Education and Human Ecology’s Distinguished Professor of Urban Education and executiv...
Semantic Tags: