Friday, December 05, 2008

ISU seeking different outcome

Lawyers for Iowa State University have asked that the recent jury verdict against the school for retaliation against former softball coach Ruth Crowe be overturned. And if the judge will not agree to that, they would like a new trial.
Those working on behalf of the university believe the jury did not decide the case based on its merits and that it did not understand Title IX. A misunderstanding of Title IX would not be out of the realm of possiblity. So many people, including those in administration, frequently misrepresent the statute. Including, apparently, ISU's own lawyers who do not believe there were any Title IX violations because Title IX does not require equal spending on men's and women's athletics. they say. True. But it does require equitable funding and the evidence presented at Crowe's trial convinced jurors that things in the athletic department were not equitable.
Sure, you're going to spend more on a football stadium than a softball facility. But if your football stadium has locker rooms with bathrooms and your softball facility has port-o-potties that the players use--there's inequity. When football coaches are given thousands of dollars to wine and dine recruits and their families or fly to them via private jet while coaches of women's teams have to fight just to justify bringing recruits to campus and can only afford to take them to Arbys--there's inequity. These specific examples are not necessarily happening at ISU. But they're happening elsewhere. And the mentality that athletic departments do not have to provide the same quality of experience to women as they do to men does seem to be present at ISU.
That is likely what the jury saw. Holding ISU accountable for it is not a decision based on "passion and prejudice"--unless the jury felt passionately that the very evident prejudice against women in athletics is a bad--and yes, illegal--thing.