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Archive for January 13, 2022

Jan. 13, 2022 — A sudden departure, explained

After only a couple of years of service to Arizona State University, head coach Courtney Martinez Connor, one of the most accomplished players in history, was let go of her job after two seasons and a 12-24 record — not bad for a college team located in lacrosse’s hinterlands.

I thought the departure was a bit sudden, especially given the successes that coaches like Amanda O’Leary and Kelly Amonte-Hiller have had with their respective startup teams.

Yesterday, we found out why.

The Arizona Republic and The State Press published reports yesterday that Connor, who directs the bi-coastal C2 lacrosse program out of Baltimore and Arizona, has filed a lawsuit against ASU alleging wrongfully termination.

That wrongful termination came from a number of reports of numerous Title IX violations by the University’s athletic department. Too, there were allegations of sexual harassment in the original filing papers, dated Jan. 3, 2022.

This not only falls under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1972, but Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964. And I wouldn’t be surprised if whistleblower laws cover this type of situation.

This lawsuit, interestingly, makes reference to a second lawsuit against the Arizona State athletics department. In it, former ASU associate athletic director David Cohen had alleged that he was terminated after a sexual harassment allegation against a former booster. A year ago, ASU had found that there was “sufficient evidence to conclude” that booster had harassed three wives of athletic department members. The booster has since filed a $5 million lawsuit against Arizona State University.

It’s the kind of web that is as intricate as those found in a spy novel, but what is clear is that Martinez wasn’t offered the same kind of long-term opportunity to make this Arizona State team a competitive one in the new Pac 12 Conference.

If the allegations in the lawsuit prove to be true, ASU and its board are going to be on the hook for a lot of damages.