Monday, December 10, 2007

University of Hawaii Coach Drops Title IX Suit

In September we noted that University of Hawaii head women's track coach, Carmyn James, filed a lawsuit against the University alleging Title IX violations in funding and number of opportunities for female athletes and differential treatment for female coaches.

But on Sunday, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that James has dropped her suit "after positive and productive meetings" with the Athletic Director Herman Frazier and Associate Athletic Director Carl Clapp that have given her "great faith that our administrative staff will do the right thing."

James's lawsuit, it seems, created sufficient leverage to motivate the athletic department to improve along gender equity lines. But what I don't quite understand is why she agreed to drop the lawsuit on the department's informal promise to change its ways, rather than insist on a settlement agreement that would have bound the University to a more specific plan. I'm guessing that James actually had a lot of bargaining power, given that she is represented by Dan Siegel, the attorney who represented all three plaintiffs in the recent litigation against Hawaii's conference rival, Fresno State. I suppose, though, that since James is still coaching for Hawaii she is in a good position to judge for herself whether Frazier and Clapp are making good on their word; if not, she can certainly re-file.