An Alabama-based attorney has filed a Civil Rights complaint against Iowa State.
The complaint, filed this week with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights office in Chicago on behalf of Cyclones women’s tennis player Erin Freeman, alleges an abuse of Title IX and federal anti-discrimination legislation.
Freeman competed with Iowa State tennis the last two seasons after transferring from Utah State. She was suspended from the Cyclones team April 11 and was reinstated May 8, according to the affidavit.
“We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings,” senior associate athletics director Callli Sanders wrote in an email to the Register on Wednesday.
In the affidavit, filed by attorney Maurice Jackson of Alabama, Freeman, one of two black women on the team, cites being “subjected to repeated acts of racial discrimination and sexual discrimination in violation of Title IX.”
Freeman also contends that “representatives of Iowa State University have created a hostile educational environment, have enlisted other student-athletes in their efforts to drive me (and the only other African-American team member) out of the Women’s Tennis Program, and have deprived me of educational opportunities based on my race,” the affidavit reads.
“There appears to be a systemic lapse of authority within the Athletic Department and (at least as it relates to African-American female student-athletes) a failure to adequately assure their access to educational resources and to assure that they are not subjected to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying by University staff and denial of educational resources,” Jackson wrote in an email to the Des Moines Register two weeks ago.
On May 8, Iowa State announced that it didn’t renew the contract of tennis coach Armando Espinosa.
When asked by the Register at that time if the action was due to what then was Freeman’s potential litigation, Sanders said: “This decision was reached after our normal review period which follows the conclusion of the season, just as we do with all of our programs.
“It was entirely based on the issues cited in the (press) release — the program’s failure to improve competitively.”
Espinosa’s 10-season record as head coach was 96-144, including 12-84 in the Big 12 conference. His 96 wins are the most in school history. This season’s team was 9-17 overall and 0-9 in league play.