UI secretly settled field hockey complaint

Jason Clayworth

The University of Iowa paid $42,889 in July 2012 to quietly settle claims by a former field hockey player who was injured while on the team, records and information obtained by The Des Moines Register show.

The Register obtained a redacted copy of the settlement in May as part of its reporting on confidential settlements in state agreements. University officials redacted the student's name, referring to her in documents as "a former member of the university's athletics team," but the Register confirmed she was a field hockey player who in 2011 alleged coach Tracey Griesbaum bullied players and improperly attended to injuries.

Senior UI athletic officials declined to comment Thursday.

The confidential settlement acknowledged the student was injured during her time as a Hawkeye, "and no longer participates in intercollegiate sports."

The settlement gave the student $26,279 for a year's worth of tuition reimbursement stemming from her appeal after the university declined to renew her athletic grant, $9,170 for undergraduate room and board, $1,090 for book expenses, $1,350 for insurance, and $5,000 for her attorney.

In exchange, the student agreed not to file a lawsuit against UI.

Tom Newkirk, Griesbaum's attorney, said the settlement does not reflect wrongdoing on her part. Instead, it demonstrates the university's unequal approach to female employees and their sports, he said in referencing a federal law known as "Title IX" that prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools that receive federal money.

"The university has a policy, I believe, of patronizing female player concerns because they just want the female players to shut up and play so they can abide by their theory under Title IX," Newkirk said, "and keep other sports that are more important to the university running smoothly."

Newkirk continued: "They would rather settle concerns, enable complaints or fire a great coach of a women's team to avoid the concerns."