Pending a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by her partner, an athletic administrator for the University of Iowa has been reassigned. Jane Meyer, a senior associate athletic director, has been reassigned to the school’s facilities management office, where she will assist with construction contract quality and compliance.
Athletic director Gary Barta said last week that the reassignment was necessary to avoid potential conflicts as the school prepares to face a potential lawsuit from Meyer’s partner, ex-women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum. Griesbaum was abruptly fired in August after complaints that she was verbally abusive to players and created a "team environment of fear, intimidation and/or mistreatment."
Current and former players, as well as their parents, came to Griesbaum’s defense and called for her reinstatement. Griesbaum alleges the firing was due to bias against gay, female coaches and is preparing to file a civil rights complaint, should the school continue to reject her request for reinstatement and an investigation into athletic department discrimination.
Griesbaum's attorney alleges that Meyer’s reassignment amounts to illegal retaliation and puts pressure on her partner to drop her legal claims. "It smacks of a plan to place pressure on Tracey to give up her fight," her attorney said. "When they say Jane has to be out of the department until Tracey gets her situation resolved, what that means is Tracey either has to give up or Jane's got to stay out for what is effectively going to be two to four years. That's the average length of a dispute with the state of Iowa."
The university said in a press release that the reassignment was logical, given Meyer’s previous involvement with major athletic construction projects. The school is in the middle of construction and rebuilding boom following flooding in 2008. Barta says that the reassignment to the facilities management office would last until the legal complications are resolved.