Title Ix

1725 Words7 Pages
Michael Burch had been the University of California, Davis' head men's wrestling coach since 1995. He was employed through one-year contracts and was classified as a part-timer in the athletic department. UCD acknowledged that the wrestling team's win-loss record, and the wrestling program overall, improved significantly during Burch's tenure. Despite that, on May 29, 2001, the university told Burch his contract would not be renewed. Burch sued. He accused UCD of retaliation in violation of Title IX. Burch alleged that he was fired because he opposed UCD's sex discrimination against female wrestlers and he publicly advocated for them. After the court determined that Burch had established a basic case of discrimination, UCD had to give a legitimate explanation for its decision to dismiss him. First, UCD attorneys claimed the decision was made before it learned that Burch was advocating on behalf of the female wrestlers, which is a protected activity under Title IX. Second, it stated its decision was based on Burch's conflicts within the athletic department, his disregard for rules, his unreasonable demands for more money, his repeated budget deficits, and his failure to cooperate during an investigation into possible National Collegiate Athletic Association violations. Burch v. Univ. of Cal., No. CV.S 04 0038 WBS GGH (106 LRP 35968) (E.D. Cal. 2006). Should the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California allow Burch to proceed with his Title IX retaliation claims? a. No, because UCD had a legitimate explanation for its decision to fire him. b. No, because the university's reasons were not legitimate in light of Burch's successful record as coach. c. Yes, if Burch could show that the university's articulated reasons were a pretext for discrimination. d. Yes, because Title IX guarantees plaintiff's a right to a jury trial in all cases of sexual discrimination. Correct answer: c. Yes If a university offers a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its actions, a plaintiff has the chance to show the explanation is merely a pretext for discrimination. A plaintiff can establish pretext by showing either 1) unlawful discrimination more likely motivated the university, or 2) the university's given explanation is unworthy of credence because it is inconsistent or otherwise not believable. To avoid dismissal, Burch had to show the university's articulated reasons were a pretext for discrimination. He identified several inconstancies in UCD's arguments that cast doubt on the reliability of its explanation. "The repeated instances where [Burch] has identified weaknesses and contradictions in [UCD's] proffered reasons satisfy the 'unworthy of credence' prong of the pretext analysis and cast sufficient doubt on [UCD's] explanation," the court stated.

More about Title Ix

Open Document