Court rules Quinnipiac volleyball team stays

Staff Reports

After legal actions in 2009, 2010 and 2012, the U.S. District Court ruled this week that Quinnipiac has not satisfied Title IX requirements for women’s sports, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union. Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled that both the acrobatics and tumbling team and the women’s rugby team were not given competitive opportunities equivalent to the quality of competition that men’s teams experience.

“This is one of very few, if not the only, court decisions to address this particular aspect of Title IX’s requirements,” said cooperating attorney Jonathan Orleans of Pullman & Comley.

After the university planned to cut three teams in 2009, including the women’s volleyball team, the women’s volleyball team sued the school, saying it was not in compliance with Title IX, a federal law to prevent gender discrimination in varsity college athletics. The university added women’s rugby and acrobatics & tumbling after the ruling to comply with Title IX standards, which mandate that the proportion of female to male athletes must be the same as the proportion of female to male students.

“We are naturally disappointed with the ruling, but the university remains committed to its long standing plans to continue expanding opportunities in women’s athletics,” Quinnipiac Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell said.

Underhill ruled the volleyball team had to stay through the 2010-11 season. The university filed an injunction on Dec. 21, 2011 to try and lift the case, but the federal appeals court ruled in favor of the volleyball team in August 2012.

“At most, the University has shown that it has made some progress toward the goal of effective accommodation, but those modest adjustments over the past two years have brought only incremental improvements in gender equity, not full and lasting compliance with Title IX,” Underhill wrote this week.