Univ. of Iowa athletics receives first gender equity review as part of settlement
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The first of three annual reviews of the University of Iowa’s gender equity status was released on Saturday, widely determining that there were not “any material issues” between men’s and women’s athletics programs.
The report, authored by Tulane professor Gabe Feldman, found that the school’s athletic department was treating women’s sports programs equitably in nearly all ways. Only two main issues were identified, including occasional scheduling conflicts for practice time and the substandard nature of the women’s gymnastics facilities.
The practice scheduling issues were able to be worked out within the department among coaches, according to the report, and future facilities projects would continue to alleviate further issues. Similarly, a new women’s gymnastics and spirit squad facility is planned, with construction to be completed by the 2024-2025 school year.
The report process is part of a settlement agreement between the university and four female student-athletes who sued the school when women’s swimming and diving were eliminated in August 2020. Those programs, along with men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and men’s gymnastics, were cut during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of lost revenue of around $100 million, according to the school.
The lawsuit claimed that the university violated the federal Title IX provisions against sex-based discrimination in federally-funded education programs. The settlement was announced in late 2021, with the school paying nearly $400,000 in attorney and witness fees for the plaintiffs, keeping women’s swimming and diving in place, implementing a women’s wrestling program, and having an annual review each October for three years on gender equity issues.
The next edition of the report will be released on Oct. 1, 2023.
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