Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Reverse discrimination suit succeeds 

A basketball coach who says he was let go because his university wanted to replace him with a coach from an ethnic minority hits paydirt.
Jurors awarded former California State University, Stanislaus, men's basketball coach Mike Terpstra $540,000 on Friday, finding race was a factor in the university's decision not to rehire him after the 2002-03 season.

Terpstra, who is white, claimed the university let his contract expire because it wanted to replace him with a black coach.

Now let's make a case for why CSU-Stanislaus might want to bring in a black coach. It may be that CSUStan (which seems to be the nickname they like, though it sounds like it belongs in Central Asia rather than Central California) wanted to recruit more black students to their university. CSUStan has a relatively small black student population, after all. Yet of the four seniors on the basketball roster, two of them are black, a fifty percent rate. Those would have been recruited by the white coach. Of the ten juniors listed, seven are black. Now those might or might not have been recruited by him, since they could be junior college transfers.

The best part? The coach that replaced Terpstra is also white. Which may have frustrated SCUStan administrators.
Afterward, a few jurors explained why they supported Terpstra:

They were moved by the five witnesses who testified that they heard athletic director Milt Richards talk about a "Black Mafia," a reference to an alleged group of black administrators at Stanislaus.

They pointed to the phrase "recruitment of two African-American coaches," which Richards jotted down on a rough draft of his self-evaluation after the 2000-01 season.

When the draft was introduced Thursday, Richards testified that he was referring to two black assistant coaches brought in throughout the year, and that, after speaking to another administrator, he took the line out of his official evaluation.

"That letter broke the camel's back with some people," according to Lilia Meza, 29, a nurse from Oakdale.

Another female juror, who requested anonymity, commented: "Why couldn't he have just said 'two coaches?'"
Lesson: Never, ever, write it down.