In a legal case that started four years ago at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, today the two parties involved have agreed to settle all Title IX issues on terms favorable to all the university’s female athletes.
The litigation started in 2009 as a run-of-the-mill Title IX case, brought by volleyball players and their coach to prevent Quinnipiac from dropping its thriving women’s program. But during the course of the litigation, the volleyball players’ lawyers uncovered numerous tactics that Quinnipiac had used to prevent university athletes from having equal educational opportunities in its athletics offerings and operations – direct, bold violations of Title IX. The case exposed that Quinnipiac purposefully undermined Title IX by engineering athletic opportunities for women that were incomparable to the opportunities provided to men. This is the first time trying many of those deceptive practices in court, and it prevailed.
Highlights of the settlement include:
• Women’s cross country and track & field teams will receive at least four full scholarships for women’s cross country athletes and six full scholarships for women’s indoor/outdoor track & field athletes who focus on non-distance events.
• Rugby will enjoy nine new scholarships.
• Volleyball with have two additional scholarships, bringing their total to 8.
• Women’s Ice Hockey and Basketball will now receive the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA, 18 and 15 respectively.
• All women’s sports will receive at least half the number of scholarships allowable by the NCAA.
• Quinnipiac will develop and implement a policy requiring gender-neutral allocation of summer, fifth-year, and other extra athletic-based financial aid.
Additional Coaching Positions.
Instead of one coach for three teams, Quinnipiac will provide its women’s cross country and track and field teams with the maximum number of paid coaches permitted by NCAA rules.
Increased Compensation for Coaches of Women’s Teams
Quinnipiac will increase the salaries of the coaches of women’s teams to no less than the median salaries in their sports in their conference. Quinnipiac recognizes that this will be at least $450,000 per year.
Athletic Facility Improvements
• Quinnipiac will spend up to $5 million to improve the permanent athletic facilities used by its women’s varsity sports teams, including renovation and/or construction of locker rooms, exercise and weight training facilities, athletic training facilities, practice and competition facilities, and office space for head/assistant coaches, so that they are comparable to the facilities provided to men’s varsity sports teams.
• Quinnipiac will increase the dimensions of the women’s varsity rugby pitch to the maximum dimensions allowed by the International Rugby Board. The pitch will be upgraded and maintained to prevent injuries.
• Quinnipiac will build an indoor track & field facility for practice and competition. The facility will meet NCAA standards for hosting indoor meets.
• Quinnipiac will build a superior practice and competition facility dedicated to women’s field hockey that meets NCAA Division I standards for the sport.
Improvements in the Treatment of Athletes
Quinnipiac has agreed to spend up to $175,000 per year during the term of the settlement upgrading these services to athletes, including equipment/supplies/uniforms, scheduling of games and practice times, transportation/travel/per diem, access to coaching and tutoring, assignment and compensation of coaches, medical/training services, housing/dining, publicity and sports information, recruiting, other support services.
Two members of the WSF Family provided expert testimony on behalf of the volleyball players. We are grateful for Judy Sweet, former NCAA President and member, Women’s Sports Foundation Advocacy Committee and Donna Lopiano, former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Finally, the Women’s Sports Foundation would like to thank the volleyball athletes, their coach, the lawyers and experts for bringing the litigation and for their persistence throughout. The team was not content to gain a quick settlement, but stayed the course over many years during difficult, tedious and changing calculations to obtain broad relief for all the athletes at Quinnipiac University, establishing powerful precedents for all future female athletes. They are to be applauded.
Read our full response to the case’s settlement here.