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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 9:35 p.m., Thursday, September 6, 2007

Track and field coach James files lawsuit against UH

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i "balanced the UH athletics budget on the back of women's athletics," the school's women's track coach charged in a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court today.

Carmyn James, who coaches women in track and field, and cross country, said school administrators regularly short-changed her program and continue to provide male student athletes with greater opportunities than females, a violation of the federal Title IX regulations that guarantee women athletes equal opportunity.

The lawsuit also charges that UH athletic director Herman Frazier discriminated against James because she advocated for gender equity. Frazier was traveling to the Mainland today and could not be reached for comment.

John McNamara, associate UH athletic director, said: "We have not received official notification about this development. Therefore it would not be prudent to comment."

James, who has been a coach at UH since 2000, charged in the lawsuit that the university has a history of failing to comply with laws and regulations requiring gender equity in its athletic programs and said the salary, terms and conditions of her contract differ markedly from those of her male colleagues.

Since 2003, James said, her contract has been limited to one year, while similarly situated male coaches were given longer, multi-year contracts with higher pay.

In July, the university Board of Regents approved a new salary range for James' position that would allow her to earn between $53,000 and $83,496, which is similar to the new salary range for the men's tennis coach.

James' suit also charges that she has been given less staff and other support than male coaches and that the department failed to include James in "important decision making that adversely affected her program."

A UH Web site credits James with reviving the women's track and field program after a 16-year hiatus and overseeing a multi-million dollar resurfacing project for Cooke Field on the UH campus.

In addition to seeking unspecified economic and general damages, the lawsuit asks the court to ensure that the terms of her employment at UH are free of discrimination.

Reach Mike Leidemann at 954-0686 or mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.