It’s Friday afternoon again, so here we go: The University of Iowa has settled the discrimination lawsuits with ex-field hockey head coach Tracey Griesbaum and former deputy AD Jane Meyer. Per Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register, Iowa will pay Griesbaum $1.5 million, Jane Meyer $2.4 million and their attorneys $2.6 million, for a total of $6.5 million, to settle all claims against the University. Of note: the payment will come from the Athletic Department, not the University itself.
Here's a look at Griesbaum's settlement:
This shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone. After a jury awarded Jane Meyer $1.4 million earlier this month, Iowa went into damage control mode. In my opinion, the Meyer discrimination case was the most difficult to win. Frankly, no one here at the GIA Legal team thought that Meyer was very likely to be successful in her claims. But, as the jury continued to deliberate, it crept into our minds that maybe the jury was considering it and sure enough, they found in Meyer’s favor.
With Iowa losing what was considered their “easiest” case to defend, things could only get worse as the evidence revealed in the Meyer trial demonstrated that Tracey Griesbaum’s firing was under “questionable” circumstances. Not only did Iowa have to face Griesbaum in state court, but they had to take on Meyer once again, this time in United States District Court for a Title IX complaint. Instead, they settled everything. And that’s probably for the best.
As part of the settlement, the University admitted no liability and per the plaintiff’s attorneys:
Also said that they didn't push for Meyer and Griesbaum to get jobs back. "I don't know that it would have been a good atmosphere."— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) May 19, 2017
Yeah, I think that would make for an awkward workplace.
Gary Barta, somehow still the Iowa Athletics Director, released the following statement:
Gary Barta's statement in the settlement. pic.twitter.com/KFBZLWEmmy— Todd Brommelkamp (@ToddBrommelkamp) May 19, 2017
I’d say that there’s “no way” Barta survives this but the fact that he hasn’t already been fired gives me pause. What, exactly, are they waiting for? A jury found him liable for multiple claims of discrimination and retaliation against Jane Meyer. Now the Athletic Department, the institution he’s supposed to make profitable, is paying $6.5 million to settle multiple lawsuits which, by the way, Gary Barta was responsible for creating.
Agree or disagree with the jury’s verdict in the Meyer case, they made their decision and determined that Gary Barta was liable for discrimination. That decision will not be overturned, as the settlement includes the dismissal of the appeal by Iowa. Regardless of whose side you’re on, it’s indisputable that there’s a black cloud hanging over the University of Iowa Athletics Department. And that cloud won’t dissipate until Gary Barta is handed his walking papers.