Trial Begins in Quinnipiac Volleyball Title IX Case

Trial in the Title IX lawsuit brought by members of the Quinnipiac University volleyball program against the University is set to begin today in United States District Court in Bridgeport.

Doug Malan of the Connecticut Law Tribune has a nice piece on the case.  Malan writes that although Quinnipiac reinstated the volleyball program after the granting of a preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs allege that the University continued to discriminate against the program:

In an amended complaint filed after the volleyball season ended, the plaintiffs claim that the university discriminated against the program even after the preliminary injunction was issued last May. They argued that hindered the team’s ability to compete.

Sparks and her team allegedly had fewer resources to work with compared to other Quinnipiac athletic programs, according to the complaint. For example, Sparks’ husband served as assistant coach because there was no money for a full-time assistant, and the university “does not provide…other support personnel to help run the program, coach, tutor, counsel or otherwise monitor the athletes” in the volleyball program, the complaint states.

And while intercollegiate rules provide for 12 scholarships for women’s volleyball, plaintiffs’ attorney [Alex] Hernandez of Pullman & Comley said, “[Quinnipiac] is funding five volleyball scholarships.”

Last May, I wondered why Quinnipiac allowed this case to get to the point at which a preliminary injunction was issued:

Why did Quinnipiac let this case go this far?

This is a difficult question to answer.  The vast majority of all lawsuits come as no surprise to the parties involved.  One would assume that Quinnipiac knew that cutting the women’s volleyball team could result in a Title IX lawsuit and were likely put on notice of the suit before the ACLU went public.  However, the suit was allowed to proceed, and virtually all of the information made public to this point has portrayed Quinnipiac in a negative light.  Perhaps most damaging is the testimony that Quinnipiac teams manipulated rosters for reporting purposes.  This lawsuit has been, and may continue to be, a source of negative attention for Quinnipiac.  The university should use the injunction and reinstatement of the volleyball team as an opportunity to resolve this matter before more damaging facts come to light.

Now that trial is beginning, I still wonder what good this case can do for Quinnipiac, and why it went this far.  Of course, the plaintiffs believe that this case is important not only to the plaintiffs but to female athletes everywhere.  Once the preliminary injunction was issued, the plaintiffs likely lost any interest in a settlement and Quinnipiac may have had no choice but to defend itself at trial.

See Connecticut Sports Law’s coverage of this matter:

Quinnipiac Faces Title IX Lawsuit Over Elimination of Women’s Volleyball

Title IX Lawsuit Brings More Unwanted Attention for Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Volleyball Players Testify in Title IX Lawsuit

Expert Analysis of Quinnipiac’s Compliance With Title IX

Quinnipiac Volleyball Team Reinstated After Injunction

Trackbacks

  1. […] volleyball team await the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Stefan R. Underhill in the Title IX case that was recently tried.  Although Title IX cases naturally attract attention in the academic and athletic communities, […]

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