Payout for Iowa Discrimination Suits Reaches $6.5M | Athletic Business

Payout for Iowa Discrimination Suits Reaches $6.5M

Former Iowa athletic administrator Jane Meyer and her partner, former women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, have settled discrimination suits filed against the University of Iowa for a total of $6.5 million.

The university will pay $2.33 million to Meyer and $1.40 million to Griesbaum to cover wage loss, damages and emotional distress. An additional $2.68 million will be paid to Des Moines law firm Newkirk Zwagerman, legal counsel for the two women.

In return, Meyer and Griesbaum will drop their lawsuits, as well as their requests for reinstatement. The settlement helps the university to avoid the trial scheduled for June, where damages were expected to increase due to a series of post-trial motions.

More from AB: Iowa Discrimination Suit: Ex-Associate AD Wins $1.43M

Meyer's attorney, Jill Zwagerman, told ABC News, "This settlement speaks volumes not just here in Iowa but to countless other women in collegiate athletics," she said, calling it a “firm stake in the ground for equality and opportunity in women's athletics."

Griesbaum's attorney, Tom Newkirk, said the university "should not be vilified as an educational institution for the actions of one or two people." According to Newkirk, Iowa is taking steps to confront the underlying issues in the administration.

University president Bruce Harreld has announced that the school will commission an external investigation of its employment practices. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education will go forward with an inquiry into related discrimination complaints filed by former female athletes.

More from AB: Iowa Responds to Ruling, Orders External Investigation

The sum of the settlement will be paid by the university athletic department, which is largely funded through ticket sales and broadcasting revenue. The department does not receive funding through tax dollars.

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