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Female Athletes Sue San Diego State University for Title IX Violation

Seventeen female student-athletes enrolled (or formerly enrolled) at San Diego State University (SDSU) filed a sex discrimination lawsuit alleging that the institution deprived them of equal athletic financial aid. They allege this failure violated Title IX. SDSU’s athletic teams compete in varsity Division I intercollegiate athletic events.

Title IX requires colleges and universities to award athletic scholarships to “members of each sex in proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in intercollegiate sports.” Relying on data obtained from the federal government pursuant to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, the women state SDSU shortchanged female athletes for over a decade. Due to the statute of limitations, the complaint breaks down financial disparities for just the last two academic years. SDSU paid its 315 female varsity student-athletes over $690,000 less than its male varsity student-athletes in the 2019-2020 school year and over $570,000 less in the 2020-2021 school year. Eleven of the lawsuit’s participants are former members of the women’s rowing team, which SDSU ended after the 2020 school year. The university continued to honor ongoing athletic scholarships for the rowing team’s members.

In response to the lawsuit, SDSU stated that its funding levels are among the highest in California and the NCAA. It also said it provides “approximately 96% of all possible scholarships permitted under NCAA rules for both its men’s and women’s teams.” It also notes that the NCAA rules prohibit schools from giving unlimited athletic scholarships and that exceeding the limits would make athletes ineligible to compete.