Friday, April 11, 2008

FGCU Softball Coach Quickly Reinstated

We posted earlier this week about Florida Gulf Coast University's decision on Monday to suspend softball coach Dave Deiros after his player, Roz Tyre, complained that he grabbed her and yelled at her in a threatening manner.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Deiros had been reinstated, despite the Athletic Director's acknowledgment that "placing your hand on a student-athlete’s chest protector is not acceptable behavior."

While Deiros may be back on the job, there's reason to believe that we haven't heard the last of this incident.

First, as News-Press editorialist Deron Snyder points out, FGCU is currently defending a discrimination lawsuit brought by fired volleyball coach Jaye Flood. When Flood was accused of inappropriate contact with student -- tugging her shirt in a game -- she was investigated for five months. The fact that Deiros, a man, was quickly reinstated under similar circumstances, helps Flood make her case that the department was retaliating against her for challenging sex discrimination within the department. Snyder puts it better: "Flood’s sexual harassment case looked like a lay-up beforehand; now it looks like a two-hand slam dunk."

Second, under Title IX, universities may be liable for sexual harassment by a coach, but only if it has notice that there's a problem. Thanks to Tyre, FGCU can consider itself on notice. If Deiros ever touches Tyre or any other player again (and since there seems to be no end in sight to FGCU's sex discrimination woes, lets say this is more likely than not), FGCU is going to have a difficulty defending a Title IX suit.