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Are Recent Firings at Iowa Sign of Gender Bias?

Michael Gaio

The University of Iowa has lost five female coaches in five years to resignation or firings. In August, the school fired field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum just days before the start of the season. The details surrounding Griesbaum's firing are mysterious. She was the most successful coach at the school with 169 wins and 12 winning seasons in 14 years.

Her firing, coupled with the firings of other female coaches at the school, has prompted Griesbaum — and other former Iowa coaches — to speak out about what they say is unfair treatment toward female coaches.

This detailed report from ESPNW titled, "What the Heck is Going on With the Iowa Athletic Department?" has more details:

Their language is simple and clear: They believe a gender bias exists within the current Iowa athletic department and that female coaches are being held to different standards than their male counterparts. They're speaking out because they want to call attention to a double standard that they feel exists all around the country, not just at Iowa.

Despite their voices, still nothing has changed.

"I know the environment at Iowa is very fragile right now," Griesbaum told espnW. "They've lost five female coaches in five years and their heads are spinning right now. I was one of those coaches who, two months ago, was looking around going, 'Why are we losing our female coaches? Can we stop it? Can we bring light to the administration about these double standards and the challenges we have?' I was one of the ones who called out the double standard."

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta denies treating female coaches any differently.

"The claims made by Coach Griesbaum's attorney in the series of letters to the University simply aren't true," Barta told ESPNW.

It's a loaded topic and an article that does not paint a pretty picture for the Iowa Athletic Department. As it says in the article, "Female coaches are finally speaking out. But is anyone listening?"

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