BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The coach of Quinnipiac University's volleyball team testified on Monday that the Connecticut school manipulated the rosters of its athletics in order to appear to be in compliance with Title IX requirements.
Robin Sparks testified in federal court in Bridgeport as part of a lawsuit she and several team members filed last month that accuses the school of failing to provide female students with equal opportunity to participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics.
They're asking U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill for an injunction that would prevent Quinnipiac from eliminating the program while the matter is in court.
Sparks said that Quinnipiac drops athletes from the rosters of some men's teams before their seasons begin and reinstitutes them days later to make its Title IX reports to the NCAA appear in compliance. She did not specify which teams were affected.
Athletic department spokesman Chuck Menke declined to comment.
The 1972 federal Title IX law requires schools to provide equal sports access regardless of sex.
Quinnipiac has 21 Division I sports, including 10 men's programs and 11 women's programs. In March, the school announced it was ending volleyball, cutting golf and men's outdoor track, and promoting cheerleading to varsity status.
The school's president, John Lahey, has denied that he was targeting female athletes when he decided which programs to cut.
American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut attorney Jon Orleans argued on behalf of the volleyball team that Quinnipiac has failed to provide women with the equal opportunity to participate in varsity sports.
He said that requirements that athletic teams have almost the same proportions of men and women as the student body are "way off."
Testimony continued Monday afternoon.
The volleyball team, which plays in the Northeast Conference, finished last season with a 5-30 record.