SDSU Women Win Nation’s First Ruling that Female Student-Athletes Denied Equal Athletic Financial Aid Can Sue Their Schools for Damages
SAN DIEGO, April 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Justice marches forward: U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson has held that the female student-athletes suing San Diego State University for violating Title IX can pursue all three of their claims – for equal athletic financial aid, equal treatment, and retaliation. The decision is the nation’s first to hold that female student-athletes deprived of equal athletic financial aid can sue their schools for damages.
“This is a major step forward for women and against sex discrimination at SDSU and nationwide,” said Arthur H. Bryant of Bailey & Glasser, LLP, in Oakland, lead counsel for the women. “When we filed these claims, I said SDSU was aiming for the Title IX sex discrimination trifecta. It has been cheating its female student-athletes out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in equal athletic financial aid each year. It’s giving male student-athletes far better treatment than female student-athletes. And it blatantly retaliated against female student-athletes for standing up for their rights. Now, it can be held accountable.”
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits all educational institutions that receive federal funds, including SDSU, from discriminating on the basis of sex. It requires schools to provide male and female student-athletes with equal opportunities, athletic financial aid, and treatment, and prohibits them from retaliating against anyone for challenging sex discrimination at the school.
On November 1, 2022, the Court denied SDSU’s motion to dismiss the equal treatment claims, but entered an order dismissing the equal athletic financial aid and retaliation claims unless the women provided more details to support them. The Court’s April 12 ruling allows all three claims to proceed, although it limits the ability of some of the women to pursue some of the claims.
Plaintiff Greta Viss said, “We are delighted that all three claims in our case are going forward. SDSU’s male athletes got their one shining moment on the basketball court. We aren’t being given the same treatment or support, so we are fighting for our shining moment in federal court.”
“This ruling represents an important milestone for this remarkable group of female athletes as they fight to hold SDSU accountable for intentional sex discrimination,” said Jenna Rangel of San Diego law firm Haeggquist & Eck. “The significance of Judge Robinson’s decision cannot be overstated. We look forward to advancing this case both for these incredible plaintiffs, and for female athletes nationwide.”
In addition to Viss, the lawsuit was filed by past and current SDSU student-athletes Madison Fisk, Raquel Castro, Clare Botterill, Maya Brosch, Olivia Petrine, Aisha Watt, Helen Bauer, Carina Clark, Natalie Figueroa, Erica Grotegeer, Kaitlin Heri, Kamryn Whitworth, Sara Absten, Eleanor Davies, Alexa Dietz, and Larisa Sulcs.
The women are also represented by Bailey Glasser’s Lori Bullock in Des Moines, IA, and Cary Joshi and Joshua Hammack in Washington, DC, along with co-counsel Amber Eck of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, and David S. Casey, Jr., and Gayle Blatt of Casey Gerry in San Diego. Hammack took the lead in briefing and arguing the issues.
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SOURCE Haeggquist & Eck