Slippery Rock University Settles Women's Sports Lawsuit
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- A federal judge signed off Monday on a lawsuit settlement between several female athletes and Slippery Rock University after the school agreed to a list of items to upgrade its womens athletics.
"I'm happy with the settlement. I think we ended up with almost everything we could ask for," said attorney Abbe Fletman, who worked with the Women's Law Project as co-counsel on the case. "(Equality) is exactly what it's all about."
Slippery Rock University President Robert Smith said he was pleased with the agreement.
"I'm very excited about this. It brings closure to a goal and objective we've had since this process began," Smith said. "We want to provide the best opportunity for women athletes."
According to the settlement, Slippery Rock agreed to make improvements to the women's softball field, including renovating the dugouts so spectators can see all the bases on the field and stabilizing chairback seating. The women's team was granted equal access to the enclosed batting cage at the baseball stadium.
The school will restore scholarship money for the water polo club team, buy lighter weights for weight-lifting, open a women's weight room, buy and install nets around the field hockey and lacrosse fields, and provide Title IX training for athletic department staff and student athletes, according to the agreement signed by U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.
The case started in January 2006 when Slippery Rock officials announced plans to drop eight athletic programs: men's and women's swimming, men's and women's water polo, men's tennis, field hockey, golf and wrestling.
A dozen female student-athletes sued under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act, and Ambrose agreed with their main claim that the university was in violation of the act.
The university reinstated field hockey and added lacrosse.
The athletes asked Ambrose to reopen the case this month, claiming the school failed to meet several parts of a 2007 settlement.
"I appreciate that we're all working for the same goal," said Smith, who said the university was committed to improving women's athletics without a lawsuit. "We jointly made this a much better place for women's athletics."
Release courtesy Pittsburgh Post Gazette