SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court rejected an equal-pay suit Wednesday by Marianne Stanley, former women's basketball coach at USC, saying the university was entitled to pay the men's coach more because he had more experience.
The 2-1 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sidestepped the most hotly disputed issue in the case: whether the higher revenue, greater publicity and resulting increased pressure to win in a men's program justified a higher salary.
Stanley, now the women's coach at California, contended those disparities reflected the university's discriminatory treatment of the women's program. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission backed her request for a trial of the suit.
But the court ruled that it was not necessary to decide whether the job duties of the men's coach were more demanding because the evidence showed that USC's men's coach at the time, George Raveling, was more experienced and qualified than Stanley.
Raveling, according to published reports, was paid between $130,000 and $150,000 in 1993, when Stanley rejected the university's offer of a one-year contract for $96,000--a $26,000 raise.
Stanley's attorney, Robert L. Bell, said he would ask the full court for a rehearing. Although his client had less experience, he said she produced winning programs (three national championships at Old Dominion) with fewer resources than Raveling had.
J. Al Latham, attorney for USC and its athletic director, Mike Garrett, said the ruling was a particular vindication for Garrett.
Wednesday's ruling upheld U.S. District Judge John Davies' dismissal of Stanley's suit without a trial. But the court told Davies to reconsider his order that Stanley pay the university's legal costs.