Erin wished in May 2008 that the three plaintiffs in the UC Davis wrestling case would appeal the decision of the lower court to dismiss the lawsuit in which the student-athletes allege Title IX violations after the school eliminated their opportunity to wrestle.
And this week her wish came true. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit* after disagreeing with the lower court’s rationale that the students had to inform their institution of the discrimination first. But as Erin pointed out in her analysis of the case, this standard, established by SCOTUS’s decision in Gebser, a sexual harassment case, isn’t really applicable in the case of athletics. An institution, as it restructures and makes decisions about how to distribute monies and opportunities, should be well aware of doing so equitably. After all, every school has its own Title IX compliance officer and is called upon by the NCAA on a regular basis to provide evidence of gender equity.
UC Davis lawyers were not surprised by the court’s decision, but they note that since the time of the lawsuit the school (in accordance with a subsequent settlement) has moved closer to proportionality and now, they say, are within 3 percentage points. According to the settlement, the school must be within 1.5 percent in 10 years. How these recent efforts to provide equitable opportunities factor into the renewed lawsuit remains to be seen.
* In this article from the AP and reprinted in the LA Times, the writer refers to Title IX as “the so-called Title IX law.” What is the implication here? That it’s not really a law? Is the writer referring to the fact that it was renamed to honor Patsy Mink? I don’t see a lot of other laws being modified by “so-called.” The so-called Civil Rights Act? Makes one wonder how he really feels about Title IX.