Four former UAlbany women’s tennis players and the school’s former head women’s tennis coach, Gordon Graham, have filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school and its athletic director.
The players, who were on the team when the program was cut in March 2016, are seeking the immediate restoration of the women’s tennis program; compliance with Title IX; the restoration of Graham as head coach; and attorney fees and monetary damages for Graham and the four former tennis players. The suit also asks the court to appoint a special master to oversee the school’s compliance with Title IX and any orders the court might issue.
Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that UAlbany violated a 1994 order by the state Supreme Court in Albany County, which required that any changes to the athletic program at UAlbany be in compliance with federal law, and that affected students would be given adequate opportunity to transfer. The impetus for the 1994 order was UAlbany’s elimination of its wrestling, men’s tennis, and men’s and women’s swimming programs.
In addition, Graham is suing for age discrimination, alleging in the complaint that the athletic director said the 65-year old coach was “old enough to retire.”
The suit comes on the heels of the issuance of a 12-page report in August by the State Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which found that the UAlbany athletic department had not provided equal participation opportunities to male and female athletes over the past three academic years.
While the OCR gave the defendants three years to fix the problems, the suit seeks to shorten the period to comply to one year.
The suit is Pejovic et al v. State U. of N.Y. at Albany et al.