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University of California settles Title IX lawsuits by former softball coaches

The former head coach of UC Santa Barbara's softball team claimed she was terminated shortly after she had presented her pay discrepancy findings to university administrators.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — The University of California settled the discrimination lawsuits by the former, longtime head coach of the softball program at its UC Santa Barbara campus and her assistant.

Attorneys for Brianne "Brie" Galicinao and Alysia Hendricks and for the UC Regents filed notices of settlement Friday in federal court in Los Angeles. Terms of the settlements weren't disclosed.

Galicinao, who served as the team's head coach from 2007 until she was terminated at the end of the 2022 season, sued UC last year. She claimed that during 2022 season she, in consultation with Hendricks, had amassed data about the vast differences between the funding and resources UCSB provides to its women's softball and men's baseball teams. This, she said violated Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sexual discrimination at educational institutions.

In addition, she compiled coaching salary information for UCSB and other Big West programs, which revealed "glaring inequities" between the compensation women coaches and men coaches receive in violation the U.S. Equal Pay Act. For example, in 2020, Galicinao said, she was paid $86,761 and the head baseball coach at UCSB was paid $221,197.

When she presented her findings, coined "Operation Close the Gap," to the university's interim athletic director and sports supervisor in March 2022, there were no follow-ups, questions or investigations into the unlawful disparities. Instead, after she notified the university of her intent to sue, she said she was terminated on the pretext that the university was "going into a different direction."

Galicinao, who had been twice named Big West Coach of the Year, "was shocked by her termination as it was only one day before the softball team banquet, and shortly after she had presented comparison information related to program funding and coaching salaries," according to her complaint.

Hendricks, who had been assistant coach of the UCSB softball team since 2017, suffered the same fate. At the end of the 2022 she was informed that her contract wouldn't be renewed under the pretext that UCSB was “going in a different direction,” according to her complaint.

Both women accused the university of retaliation in addition to their discrimination and equal pay claims.

An attorney for Galicinao and Hendricks didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative of UCSB said the university had no comment at this time.

According to Galicinao's lawsuit, over the past decade she had become more and more aware of the big disparities between her softball program and the UCSB baseball program. These included major differences in coaching staff, support staff, field maintenance, equipment, and apparel between the two programs.

The coaches in the softball program, she said, were not only expected to manage the team but also provide field and equipment upkeep duties. The coaches of the baseball team, on the other hand, were not saddled with these responsibilities because they had a designated field person and interns.

Over the past couple of years, Galicinao said, she began to hear regularly from other softball coaches that the immense gap between the men’s and women’s programs at UCSB was alarming. Specifically, according to her complaint, coaches were fearful to allow their players to take batting practice in the old and unsafe batting cage at UCSB.

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