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NCAA Wants Gender Bias Suit Thrown Out

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) recently made a bid to have a class-action lawsuit accusing the NCAA of gender discrimination thrown out.

The NCAA filed a brief Tuesday in a New Jersey federal court in the case Pedersen et al v. National Collegiate Athletics Association et al., Law360 reported.

Three former Kean University (N.J.) student-athletes—soccer players Shannon Pedersen and Jaclyn Janicky and basketball player Emily Cristaldi—filed the original lawsuit in April 2014. They allege that they and eight other student-athletes at the NCAA Division III school had their James A. Dorsey scholarships revoked after the NCAA put the school on notice for NCAA violations.

“Because nine of the 11 students were women, the plaintiffs say, the NCAA’s policies are discriminatory in nature,” Law360 reported.

The school was put on notice in September 2011 related to off-season athletics activities in Europe. Two days later, Pedersen, Janicky and Cristaldi claim their scholarships were taken away. Their attorney, Timothy McIlwain, told Law360 last year that action was out of fear of possible punishments by the NCAA. From Law360:

The complaint says that the school’s former athletic director, Glen Hedden, had been notified prior to 2011 by the NCAA that Kean was giving too many Dorsey scholarships to athletes, over the percentage allowable by the rules. According to McIlwain, the NCAA’s policy dictates that the scholarship cannot be given to more than 2 percent of athletes. The plaintiffs say that Hedden continued to violate the NCAA rules by allowing a disproportionate number of Dorsey scholarships to go to athletes instead of just characterizing the scholarship as academic.

In addition, the complaint says that Hedden had mistakenly believed that the Dorsey scholarship was for minorities and not academically based, as it is.

On Tuesday, the NCAA argued the plaintiffs filed claims lacking factual support. It also objected to the plaintiffs’ comparisons of the NCAA to the “mafia” or a “terrorist organization” that implements intimidation, Law360 reported.

“Not only do plaintiffs’ claims lack any legal basis to support a right to relief, plaintiffs’ second amended complaint fails to include ‘a short and plain statement of the claim’ showing they are entitled to relief,” the brief said.


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