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HAMDEN >> Nearly one year after a consent decree over gender equity in women's sports was approved, Quinnipiac University is finding it will cost more than $5 million that was reached in settlement.
The addition of new teams, such as women's rugby, golf and maintaining its indoor and outdoor track and field team, are racking up costs. Attorney fees, paying members of the volleyball team and paying "referee" wages also are running the university's spending into the millions.
The consent decree remains in effect until June 30, 2016.
Quinnipiac is required to request data with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to determine the median salaries of women's team coaches in the conference. If the MAAC provides the information by the 2014-15 academic year, the university must increase the coaches' salaries, the consent decree states.
According to the consent decree, it will cost the university $625,000 to upgrade women's team coaches' salaries and ensure the school provides athletic needs such as equipment, transportation and medical services, among other necessities.
Other costs include $1.9 million in plaintiff attorney fees and a $50,000 donation to the Emanuel Margolis Fellowship Fund of the university's School of Law.
Quinnipiac will pay the plaintiffs' attorney fees up to $450 an hour, plus reasonable expenses, including expert fees for drafting, obtaining and monitoring the university's compliance, the consent decree states.
Quinnipiac is required to pay four members of the volleyball team a total of $15,000.
Other consent agreements include building a practice and competing facility for women's field hockey, projecting a schedule to complete facility improvements, upgrading the quality of the rugby pitch and maintaining all women's athletic teams, the consent decree states.
The university will swallow costs for a "referee," who will be responsible for monitoring the consent decree compliance. The referee will be paid $150,000 over three years.
Attorney Jonathan Orleans, who represented the volleyball team members, said he's aware the university has kept women's volleyball and is continuing to comply with the decree, but wasn't clear on any other improvements.
"We'll have more of a sense when the referee comes back with his report this spring," Orleans said.
Quinnipiac University declined to comment.
The lawsuit was filed in 2009 by members of the women's volleyball team after Quinnipiac announced its intent to eliminate that team in favor of competitive cheer, which was eventually renamed acrobatics and tumbling.
The required spending also includes renovations and construction of locker rooms, exercise and weight-training facilities, athletic training facilities, practice and competition facilities and office space for head and assistant coaches.
According to the university's website, it has 13 women's sports teams and eight men's teams.
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