Former Texas Tech women's basketball head coach Marlene Stollings reached a settlement with Texas Tech and athletic director Kirby Hocutt on Wednesday, ending a lawsuit in which the Stollings accused her former program of discrimination and retaliation after she was fired in August 2020.
Stollings was dismissed shortly after an article published byand creating a toxic team environment that led to "fear, anxiety and depression" within the program. In the article, multiple players described incidents of sexual harassment, name-calling and even stealing a player's emotional support dog. At the time of her firing, Stollings had a contract through March 2024.
She sued Texas Tech in October 2020 and the case was scheduled to go to trial in February 2023. Now that both parties filed a joint motion to settle, the case has been dismissed. After this, the claim can't be filed in court again because it was dismissed "with prejudice."
Stollings made multiple complaints against Texas Tech and Hoccutt, but retaliation under Title IX and discrimination were the only two that remained. No details on the settlement have been made public, but Stollings appeared in good spirits and made a comment on social media.
"TODAY, equality wins! Settled! Brought this case to clear my name, set the record straight & contribute to principles of equality & fair treatment," she wrote on Twitter. "Thrilled! Worth the fight! Grateful to so many including SA's, parents & TTU fans. Eager to return to my life's work."
South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley was one of her supporters and congratulated her on the settlement.
Per report, Stollings' complaint said the school and athletic director "created an environment in which male and heterosexual coaches were treated better than female and gay and lesbian coaches, and men's athletic programs were treated better than female athletic programs.''
Stollings attorney, Peter Ginsberg, told USA Today that she is interested in coaching again, which served as her motivation to settle instead of waiting for the trial.
"Given the nature of university athletics, most if not all colleges were reticent to engage Marlene while her litigation was continuing against Texas Tech,'' Ginsberg said. "Now that the litigation is over, the landscape is expected to change significantly.''
However, not everyone is happy with the decision. Some of Stollings' former players told USA Today that they did not wish to see her coach again. One of them was Mia Castaneda, who left Texas Tech for Washburn University in Kansas in 2019.
"The point was never that we were weak or not strong enough to put up with it," Castaneda said. "The point of speaking was to shine light on the fact that even though we choose to be athletes, we are human first. And our mental and physical health matters. I hope the settlement doesn't turn other athletes away from speaking out if they are experiencing any kind of abuse. I wish her and her staff the best of luck in their future."