Mercer v. Duke University

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  • Topic: Discrimination, Atlantic Coast Conference, Duke Blue Devils football
  • Pages : 2 (466 words )
  • Download(s) : 345
  • Published : June 11, 2012
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Michael Pisani
Sports Law
Spring 2012
Mercer v. Duke University

Facts- Duke University allowed a female to try out for a male football team. In doing so Heather Sue Mercer should have had equal opportunity in making the squad. Duke University operates a Division I college football team. During the period relevant to this appeal (1994-98), appellate Fred Goldsmith was head coach of the Duke football team and appellant Heather Sue Mercer was a student at the school. Legal Issues- Mercer claims that the coach Fred Goldsmith made offensive remarks about her gender. She was cut from the team in 1996, and claimed that the reason she was cut was because of her sex. This is against Duke's rules of athletics, which state "No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, be treated differently from another person or otherwise be discriminated against in any interscholastic, intercollegiate, club or intramural athletics offered by a recipient, and no recipient shall provide any such athletics separately on such basis." The central or main issue in this case is Title IX. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by educational institutions receiving federal funding. Mercer Arugument- Mercer did not play in any games during the 1995 season, but she regularly attended practices. She was officially listed as a member of the Duke football team on the roster filed with the NCAA and she was pictured in the Duke football yearbook. Despite being officially listed as a member of the team, she was not allowed to dress for games or sit on the sidelines during games. In the spring of 1996, she again participated in conditioning drills with the football team.

It was during this latter period that Mercer alleges that she was subject to discriminatory treatment by Duke. Specifically, she claims that Goldsmith did not permit her to attend summer camp, refused to allow her to dress for games or sit on the sidelines...
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