Twelve female student-athletes have reached a settlement with Slippery Rock University, stemming from a Title IX lawsuit filed last year when the school cut its women’s swimming and water polo teams to save money.
The lawsuit was filed in 2005 after the school announced plans to cut several men’s and women’s sports programs at the end of the 2005-2006 school year. It consisted of two counts: the violation of Title IX’s equal participation requirement and failure to treat female athletes substantially equal with respect to coaching and training, equipment and supplies, publicity, promotional materials and events, transportation, uniforms, playing fields, locker rooms and other facilities.
The settlement calls on SRU to reinstate the programs as well as create a $300,000 fund to be spent over three years on women’s athletics “to overcome the effects of historical conditions that have limited women’s participation in athletics.”
This fund is in addition to the approximately $1 million SRU has committed to facilities and coaching for women athletes since the inception of this lawsuit.
“We’re really proud that we helped create more athletic opportunities for female students and some meaningful improvements in the women’s locker rooms, playing fields, equipment and coaching,” said Jennifer Venet, a field hockey player and one of the plaintiffs in the litigation.
The major terms of this settlement include substantial improvements to the softball field; new and improved women’s locker rooms; equitable availability of medical and training personnel and facilities for women athletes; equitable provision of and compensation to coaches of women’s teams; and adoption of policies setting forth gender-equitable treatment regarding uniforms, travel, equipment, publicity, trainers and access to automobiles for recruitment by coaches.
Beth Choike, a member of the women’s water polo and swim teams and lead plaintiff, said that she was also satisfied with the positive outcome of the court case.
“I’m glad we finally have a settlement,” Choike said. “It’s been a long battle, and I’m excited to see that the resolution aids our cause. It’s also a good thing to see the immediate impact of this ruling on the women’s sports.”