Title IX Sex Discrimination Case Against SDSU Moving Forward on All Counts: Equal Athletic Financial Aid, Retaliation, and Equal Treatment

Justice marches forward: U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson held yesterday that the female student-athletes suing San Diego State University (SDSU) for violating Title IX can pursue all three of their claims – for equal athletic financial aid, equal treatment, and retaliation. The decision is the first in the nation to hold that female student-athletes deprived of equal athletic financial aid can sue their schools for damages.

“This is a major step forward for women and against sex discrimination at SDSU and nationwide,” said Arthur H. Bryant of Bailey & Glasser, LLP, in Oakland, CA, lead counsel for the women. “When we filed these claims, I said SDSU seemed to be aiming for the Title IX sex discrimination trifecta. It has been cheating its female student-athletes out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in equal athletic financial aid each year. It is giving its male student-athletes far better treatment than its female student-athletes. And it blatantly retaliated against its female student-athletes for standing up for their rights. Now, it can be held accountable.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits all educational institutions that receive federal funds, including SDSU, from discriminating on the basis of sex. It requires schools to provide male and female student-athletes with equal opportunities, athletic financial aid, and treatment, and prohibits them from retaliating against anyone for challenging sex discrimination at the school.

On November 1, 2022, the Court denied SDSU’s motion to dismiss the women’s equal treatment claims, but entered an order dismissing the equal athletic financial aid and retaliation claims unless the women provided more details to support them. The Court’s April 12, 2023, ruling allows all three claims to proceed, although it limits the ability of some of the women to pursue some of the claims. To read more click here.

The Bailey Glasser team in this matter also includes partner Joshua Hammack, who briefed and argued the Motion to Dismiss; partner Lori Bullock in our Des Moines, Iowa office; and partner and Commercial and Environmental Practice Group Leader Cary Joshi.

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