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Iowa AD: Complaints Led to Coach's Firing

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Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)

 

DES MOINES - University of Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Monday that three rounds of complaints from parents and field hockey players prompted an investigation into the program that ultimately led to the firing of coach Tracey Griesbaum in 2014.

Griesbaum's termination is a central piece of a lawsuit filed by former top administrator Jane Meyer against the university.

Meyer, who was Barta's top assistant for a decade, filed the suit after being moved to another department soon after the firing of Griesbaum, her partner. Meyer's job was eliminated in 2016.

Meyer alleges she suffered workplace discrimination as a gay woman in a relationship with a coach, that the school retaliated against her and that she was paid far less than a male counterpart for similar work.

From ABIowa's Treatment of Gay Administrator on Trial Today

Barta said that he had noticed a pattern of serious issues and allegations of abuse from Griesbaum dating back to 2007, just a year after he took over at Iowa.

In 2011, another student made similar claims that were serious enough to be forwarded to former president Sally Mason's office and so distressed Griesbaum that she threatened to resign. Barta said nothing was proven, and Griesbaum stayed on as coach.

But Barta said that before the 2014 season a player came forward with complaints again - and that a second player made similar charges a month later.

Barta said he had heard that, at one point, Griesbaum told a player that, "If I were you, I would kill myself."

The university subsequently investigated the program and the relationship between Meyer and Griesbaum, who did not report to Meyer beyond athletic facilities issues, and found no policy violations.

But Barta said his fears that such allegations would continue to surface, combined with the fact that Griesbaum had twice told him that she didn't do anything wrong and wouldn't change, led him to fire her just a few weeks before the season.

"Whether it could be finally proven or not, I had to make a decision," Barta said.

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April 25, 2017
 
 
 

 

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