The Knicks Got Nothing On Fresno State.

It’s not like the CSU system isn’t already planning to jack student fees up come January anyway. However, the firing of former Fresno State’s women’s hoops coach Stacy Johnson-Klein and subsequent lawsuit has resulted in a $19.1 million dollar jury award for sexual harassment ($11 million for “pain and suffering; it’ll get reduced, I suppose). Brooks and Deadspin have already picked up on this, but the fun is not only due to the pleasant eight-figure settlement itself, but also because this case was an enjoyable he-sad-she-said from the get-go.

Johnson-Klein got the axe in 2005 under some very pleasant accusations, including taking prescription painkillers from a player, improper cash transactions, and being abusive towards players and staff:

[FSU president John] Welty said Johnson-Klein skimmed money from her subordinates’ bonuses, obtained a half-full bottle of prescription painkiller from one of her players, was abusive in her treatment of students and staff, was insubordinate and lied at various times during the investigation.

This is the same Welty who’s under fire for the recent judgment — which includes a state senator calling for the legislature to put a block on the entire Cal State budget unless he resigns as president. Johnson-Klein claimed she put up with the harassment until she was fired for asking for equal treatment for the women’s hoops team as compared to the men’s:

Johnson-Klein countered that Fresno State had a long history of treating women in the athletic department as second-class citizens. She said she put up with sexual harassment from her superiors because she didn’t want to lose her job, but drew the line when the university refused to treat her program as it did the men’s basketball team.

When she talked about filing a complaint with the federal government, Johnson-Klein said, the university concocted a biased investigative report into her alleged transgressions and used it as justification to fire her.

This is the third such suit Fresno State has either been found liable for or settled over sexual harassment in the past five months: former volleyball coach Lindy Vivas won a seven-figure judgment and former assistant A.D. Diane Milutinovich settled for $3.5 million. Once is a problem, twice is a trend, three times is fucked up — but let’s just say that reading over most of the articles, Johnson-Klein isn’t the most sympathetic of plaintiffs (some of her former players do not think well of her if you read the Fresno Bee piece, but that doesn’t justify harassment in any way) and Welty shouldn’t be the president of a large public university.

That $950K offer Johnson-Klein made to the school to settle the case looks a lot better now, doesn’t it?


One Response

  1. Get real….If Stacy Johnson Klein wanted to be treated equally, then what was with the hoochie outfits? Everything was going just fine with her until someone blew the whistle on her drug use. Never mind that the players felt she was totally wacko. No one, other than her friends and so-called fans, misses her. The program has moved on and in big ways. Maybe that’s how players react when they don’t have a coach constantly berating them and treating them like second class citizens.

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