Duke University must pay cut female football player two million dollars.
October 13, 2000 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Duke University must pay cut female football player two million dollars. I am sure this will change the face of college athletics.
posted by remo (11 comments total)
Ordinarily, schools are exempt from opening tryouts to women in contact sports like football, but in an earlier ruling in the case, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that once a woman is allowed to try out, she can't then be discriminated against.

Yes it will change the face of college athletics. No athletic director will be willing for a long time to take the risk of letting a woman try out because it will open them up to lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise.
posted by donkeymon at 1:13 PM on October 13, 2000

I'm all for gender equality, but now why are the scales tipped in the other direction? This is such crap.
posted by owillis at 1:45 PM on October 13, 2000

After she scored a winning field goal during the Blue-White game in spring 1995, Goldsmith told her she was on the team. But unlike other players, when the fall season arrived, she didn't get a uniform or equipment, couldn't dress out for games and wasn't allowed to sit on the sideline.

[sic] Mercer tried out again in 1996, but Goldsmith cut her from the team. No player had ever been cut by him before for lack of skill.

i think those details flesh out the case somewhat.

posted by lescour at 2:03 PM on October 13, 2000

She was treated differently from the male players.

She was insulted by the coach for not being a man.

She wasn't given a chance to place on the practice squad where she might be able to improve her kicking skills.

Title IX is not a new law.

How is this not discrimination?
posted by alana at 2:13 PM on October 13, 2000

donkeymon is right, of course. No university is going to allow females to try out regardless of their potential skill. However, owillis, why do you think this is necessarily tipping the scales in the other direction? The jury decided she was discriminated against. I haven't read all the testimony in the case, so I don't really have an opinion. Have you?
posted by daveadams at 2:29 PM on October 13, 2000

"She plans to use the money to start a scholarship fund for girls who want to be place-kickers."

so.....now she's going to discriminate against MEN who want to be place-kickers by not making them eligable for her scholarship? Just because I'm a man, now I can't be awarded her scholarship...

Since men aren't allowed on all-female teams, why should women be allowed on male teams?
posted by grank at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2000

How is that different from a lot of other scholarships? There are a number of scholarships out there that I'm not eligible for because I'm not a member of a certain minority group.

I do agree with your last point, though. If you're going to make cries for "gender equity," you'll have to go both ways. If a woman wants to play on a men's football team, let her- but if a man wants to play on the women's softball team, let him.
posted by zempf at 3:41 PM on October 13, 2000

"Duke must pay $2 million in punitive damages, plus $1 in compensatory damages" Is that one dollar? or one MILLION dollars?
I just have to say, this woman was discriminated against in my opinion, but $2 million? Man, no wonder universitits costs so much, they're always getting sued. If I were in her place, I would say an apology would do, and maybe a few thousand if that's not enough. Unfortunately, I'm not.
Also, us single, white, heterosexual, non-disabled, non-obese, males are going to be the ones out of the jobs because everyone's going to be afraid that something like this will happen.
posted by starduck at 3:44 PM on October 13, 2000

I dislike this case for the fact that any woman who comes along who may even have the skill to play a sport will be discouraged or not even given the oppurtunity. These things should be based on skill, not gender.

The allegations by her about not being treated fairly were countered by the coach's testimony that he went the extra mile in her case.

IMHO, a team in their situation would have had anybody of adequate capability at the position, male or female. She claims to want equality but really wants preferential treatment...
posted by owillis at 3:58 PM on October 13, 2000

grank wrote:
"Since men aren't allowed on all-female teams, why should women be allowed on male teams"

Who said it was an all-male team? It didn't say women were barred from playing on the team ever, did it?
posted by mathowie at 4:23 PM on October 13, 2000

This is one of those cases where there is a pretty good reason for a "separate but equal" clause. In sports, and especially in highly competitive sports, it is important that there is some level of equality in the performances of the competitors. This, for example, is why there are different weight classifications for boxers. A heavyweight fighting against a bantamweight would be asinine. Similarly, many competitive college and pro sports do not lend themselves to mixed genders. The case for a kicker is clearly a gray area since a kicker need not also play on the line and one could argue that if she were competitively capable, she should be able to play.

However, I can't possibly imagine arguments that would persuade me to grant $2M to her. In a way, I feel sorry for her because nobody wins in this case. She will be "that woman who sued the college" (or worse) for the rest of her college career, she'd get picked apart no matter what she did with the money (although I think that a women's sports scholarship with no rider on the sport would've been wiser). If she wanted to play, she lost because she's not going to. If she wanted publicity, she got it in a pretty damaging way to both school and herself. If she wanted to help other women atheletes, she did it in one of the most narrow ways possible. I think the phrase here is Pyrrhic Victory.
posted by plinth at 5:50 AM on October 14, 2000

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