Thursday, October 21, 2021

Settlement at Iowa

[this is officially old news now but still important to note]

It was always going to be a toss up. Which would come to an end first: the pandemic or the lawsuit against University of Iowa? 

University of Iowa for 

The lawsuit, brought by women athletes at the school in the wake of the attempted cuts in fall 2020, has ended with a settlement. The women's swimming and diving team had been reinstated while the lawsuit was pending and it will continue on for at least seven years. (Terms of the settlement state that it cannot be cut until then.) AND...

...there will be a new women's wrestling team!! Iowa will be home to the first women's wrestling team in any of the power 5 conferences. And that is quite fitting given Iowa wrestling's renown. Let's give an enthusiastic cheer:


And now the "really?" part of this post. 

The conditions of the settlement, in addition to keeping women's S&D for seven years and $400,000 which will cover expenses, was to add another women's team and the administration chose wrestling. According to Athletics Director Gary Barta, conversations about adding women's wrestling had allegedly been happening prior to the lawsuits and settlement. However:

“Were it not for the Title IX lawsuit, I wasn't ready to add women's wrestling yet,” Barta said. 

[How does this man still have his job? Has any athletic director had so many lawsuits during their tenure as Gary Barta? (Probably, but still, I reiterate past statements about his Teflon-ness.)]

So this historic thing is about to happen and because Gary Barta is the athletic director and it will happen under his watch, he will get credit for it even though it was 1) the result of a lawsuit over the denial of sporting opportunities to women and 2) he didn't even want to do it. 

A significant, but less touted condition of the settlement, is a roster cap on women's rowing. The team cannot exceed 75 spots. Roster inflation has long been an issue and especially so in women's rowing which some schools have used to "balance" out the (inflated but widely accepted as normal) football rosters (approximately 120 students). 

The lawyer for the plaintiffs expressed hope that the capping trend would continue thus creating more quality experiences for women athletes.