Former University of Iowa senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer, who claims the university discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation and her willingness to fight gender bias in the athletic department, gets her day in Polk County court today. In actuality, the trial — which will likely hear testimony from Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, board of regents president Bruce Rastetter, football coach Kirk Ferentz, and Big 12 Conference commissioner and former UI athletic director Bob Bowlsby — is expected to last weeks, with much of the college sports world focused on its outcome.
Meyer saw her position at the university eliminated in September 9, 2016. According to the Associated Press, she claims it was the latest act of retaliation for her defense of Tracey Griesbaum, a field hockey coach who was fired in 2014 and with whom Meyer had a decade-long relationship. Griesbaum was fired after complaints over harsh treatment of her players. Meyer, Iowa's senior women's administrator at the time, chastised Barta, who announced before the end of that year that Meyer would be transferred outside the athletic department, claiming that her insubordination made it impossible to run the department. He also claimed that Meyer hadn't disclosed her relationship with Griesbaum, and that it represented a conflict of interest.
Meyer's lawyers counter that she was transferred a day after she handed Barta a memo about alleged department bias, including his termination of other lesbian coaches.
Even before she was transferred, Barta created a position of deputy athletic director, which included some of Meyer's duties, and hired Gene Taylor at a salary of $245,000. At the time she was laid off, Meyer had spent 13 years at Iowa and was earning an annual salary of $176,617. Now 57, she argues the disparity amounts to an equal pay violation.