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

Email


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 >>
‘Jewish Blood’ Remark Sparks Suit Against School BATON ROUGE, La. – The president of a private Baptist college in Louisiana refused to approve a football coach's hiring because of what he called the applicant's "Jewish blood," a federal lawsuit claims. Joshua Bonadona sued Louisiana College ...
Amherst College to Use Mellon Grant to Develop Diverse Faculty As a recipient of a prestigious $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Amherst College will develop an initiative to identify and prepare students from underrepresented minority groups to become faculty in the humanities. The grant i...
State of the Union Address Omitted Key Concerns in Education, Experts Note President Donald Trump President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address since taking office, calling the current era “our new American moment.” But he missed an opportunity for substantive conversation on the growing conce...
Fixing an Athletics Problem Jennifer Hunter’s career trajectory has been anything but traditional, particularly as it relates to her work with collegiate sports. A native of New Orleans, Hunter is a trained lawyer who spent two years working as an English instructor and advi...
Semantic Tags: