Patricia Carroll, head softball coach at Rider College since 1994, filed a lawsuit last week in the federal court in New Jersey, arguing that her employment contract was slated for non-renewal in retaliation for her complaints that Rider’s women’s programs received fewer resources than the men’s. In particular, she alleges that her complaints targeted inequities in scholarship money and booster funding, as well as the size of coaching staff and quality of facilities like locker rooms.
Though Carroll has won three championships in the past, her record over the past three seasons is reportedly 26-127. So it’s possible that the college will claim that its decision was motivated by performance rather than retaliation. To win her case, Carroll will have to undermine this rationale and prove that it is pretext for retaliation, such as by proving that other coaches with similar records (and who have not spoken out about Title IX violations) are retained.
Because the college’s decision not to renew Carroll does not take effect until next summer, Carroll is in the unique position of challenging her termination while she is still employed. She is suing to keep her job, as well for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.