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Justice O'Connor Rejects Stanley : Women's basketball: Coach was seeking to be temporarily reinstated at USC while pursuing her sex-discrimination lawsuit.

September 11, 1993|ELLIOTT ALMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Marianne Stanley lost a bid to return as the USC women's basketball coach Friday when a U.S. Supreme Court justice declined to reinstate her.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor upheld lower court rulings that denied Stanley temporary reinstatement until an appellate court in San Francisco hears her appeal on the issue of returning to USC for the 1993-94 season. The appeal asks that Stanley be reinstated while she pursues a sex-discrimination suit against USC and Athletic Director Mike Garrett.

Friday's decision, although not surprising according to legal experts, is a blow to Stanley, USC's coach the last four seasons. Stanley has been coaching college basketball since 1978, when she led Old Dominion to a 30-4 record.

Stanley has not discussed her situation publicly since filing an $8-million suit last month, alleging discrimination and retaliation in contract negotiations. The suit also contends that she should be paid the same as Coach George Raveling of the men's team, under state and federal provisions of equal wages for equal work.

In petitioning O'Connor, who handles emergency matters from California for the Supreme Court, Stanley said she is suffering irreparable harm while not being allowed to coach at USC.

O'Connor's decision was handed down without written explanation.

Legal experts said it would have been unusual for O'Connor to overturn the lower court, although one said the decision will eventually benefit Stanley because she will have grounds in her civil case to ask for millions in damages from lost income, future earnings and damage to her career and reputation.

The decision was well received at USC.

"I'm happy the court made a decision that way," Garrett said. "We felt it would, based on the facts. We were confident all along we would prevail."

The issue began last month when Stanley requested to be reinstated for the 1993-94 season while her suit continued in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. But Judge John G. Davies denied the request, which was appealed.

Shortly thereafter, USC hired Cheryl Miller, who as a player was the school's scoring and rebounding leader, to replace Stanley. But Stanley filed emergency motions with the district court and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco asking that she be reinstated until the appellate court had time to review her appeal of Davies' decision.

When both courts refused to temporarily reinstate her, Stanley filed a motion with the Supreme Court.

Stanley's last chance for relief is in the hands of the San Francisco appellate court, which will begin hearing arguments during the week of Nov. 1, about the time basketball season begins.

Throughout the legal maneuvering, the Trojan players, who are expected to among the nation's best this season, have trained daily, said Lisa Leslie, the team captain.

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