Former Jackson State women’s basketball coach Denise Taylor is suing the university for wrongful termination and retaliation.
Taylor, who was fired as head coach last June, is claiming JSU wanted to stifle her allegations of discriminatory mistreatment by athletic personnel and officials.
The lawsuit also includes breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and bad faith.
According to the complaint Taylor, first aired her work environment concerns to senior women’s administrator Adrienne Sweeney last March to complain about unfair treatment, recruiting, and budgets of the women’s basketball team that she thought was based on gender inequality.
The coach, who spent a decade on the bench, also charged that several identified male coaches harassed and intimidated her.
According to documents, Taylor had been previously displeased the school wouldn’t green-light a trip to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association convention at the Final Four in Indianapolis due to a lack of funds.
The following day, Taylor also complained of the sex discrimination via e-mails sent to Robert Walker, who was the interim athletic director at JSU, and school president Carolyn Meyers.
A few days later it is alleged Meyers instructed Ella Holmes to conduct an audit of the women’s basketball program “to find a reason to terminate Taylor.”
It was then that on April 8, Taylor was placed on administrative leave by the university citing misconduct that included charges of sexual gender stereotyping, emotion and verbal abuse, forcing student-athletes to change class schedules and misappropriation of funds.
On May 20, JSU sent a letter to Taylor that outlined their intent to fired her as head coach, and later fired in June
Taylor’s lawyer, Nick Norris, said her client was let go because she threatened to file a Title IX complaint against the university.
The claims against Taylor and her subsequent firing was described as an attempt by JSU to “divert attention from their wrongful actions,” the lawsuit said.
“From the evidence we have seen so far, it appears that Jackson State retaliated against. (Taylor) because it was concerned its disparate treatment of the women’s basketball program would come to light.”