Robin Sparks was fired from both her jobs at Quinnipiac University in New Haven this week. Sparks is probably most well known as the volleyball coach at the school--not because the volleyball team was a perennial contender but because the school attempted to cut it in favor of competitive cheer. A lawsuit followed and in a still widely discussed decision, the judge ruled that QU could not use competitive cheer to meet its Title IX qualifications. This did not mean it had to keep volleyball; schools can choose which teams to field. But it did.
The decision was mostly centered around the viability of cheer as a competitive varsity sport, with volleyball as the collateral damage. Sparks was at the trial but again it was mostly about the merits of cheer.
And now she has been fired--from her job as a professor of public relations as well. The school claims it cannot provide the reasons why. They also added, not surprisingly, that it was not related to the Title IX case (details of the case can be found at the Title IX Blog using the tag Quinnipiac).
Let's note that Sparks's team record was not so good--at any time in her tenure as coach. And coaches get fired for that. Not sure what her record was a professor. Or why she was fired in the middle of the semester. Or why she was escorted off campus.
Escorted off campus!
Sparks is not the first woman involved in a Title IX to be escorted off campus.
Have we not gotten over the historical connection between women and hysteria (thanks a lot, Freud)? All women are going to pitch a fit when told they have been fired? That they might retaliate in some way and so have to lead off the premises under the watchful eyes of the authorities?
The cynic in me says that of course this is retaliation for her involvement in a legal case that made Quinnipiac look very bad (lots were revealed about the athletic department's shady manipulations and the administration's collusion in it all). That they just waited a few years to do it. Of course the dramatic fashion in which they did so seems to work against them doing it quickly and quietly without repercussions.
I am headed down to New Haven tomorrow. Alas I will be at Yale (on the lookout for sexual harassment??). But snooping around QU would be interesting.