Before I begin, I just want to take a moment to genuflect upon the oppertunity MDG has given me to be a guest blogger- and as such, my views are my own and may be different from someone else's.
The Vivas verdict has been an event in Fresno State athletics that has affected the entire department, and has sweeping after effects and probable outcomes that, while not certain, have a pattern that have been already been played out at other athletic programs in the Cal State system. For those of you who do not know, Lindy Vivas, formerly the woman's volleyball coach, sued Fresno State for gender discrimination after her contract was not renewed this year. After a legal battle, which included Scott Johnson thinking there were 'seven or eight' girls to a side on volleyball (there are, in fact, five), the court awarded Vivas $5.85 million in damages. This decision has made national headlines and has been seen by some as a landmark case for Title IX, as it is the largest award for an anti-gender discrimination lawsuit at a University, and has generated a lot of discussion on the barkboard and other fan sites. Some have begun to call for Weltey's resignation, while others are angry at the university and the chancellor for not standing up for the university's decision.
But there are even bigger questions than these which affect the situation, for this is a pattern which has been repeated at the majority of the universities in the Cal State system and, having visited upon Fresno State, can be expected to have massive repercussions. College football had once thrived in California at the Division I, I-AA, and II levels for decades until the Cal-NOW act was passed placing very stringent restrictions upon athletics at the CSU's in particular. Within a decade, fully half of the college football programs in California had folded, and the few that remained outside of the Pac-10 continue to be in jeopardy. Football is a sport that, while having the potential to generate generous profits, can also cost an institution a tremendous amount of money, and requires scholarships be given to as many men as 5 or 6 other sports. Many schools cannot financially support it while meeting the new guidelines. Fresno State had been fortunate that it had managed to escape many of the problems that have plagued the other schools in the system with its success on the field of play, but this legal decision has changed the financial and political situation of athletics at Fresno State. This situation, alongside similar problems in the Quaadir Brown case, implicate people from Welty to Johnson to Boeh in gender discrimination, and it seems reasonable to assume that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what kind of things may happen next now that the cat is out of the bag on this.
My point is this- the mere suggestion of lawsuits brought down football programs at ten successful California universities in the last 15 years. It is not out of the question to suggest that landmark legal cases involving sweeping charges of gender discrimination and bias against Fresno State University won't result in a similar outcome for the Bulldogs than it did for our former opponents. This may be the beginning of the end of Fresno State football, and we may soon see the permanent removal of the goalposts from beloved Bulldog Stadium if we fail to pay attention to the lessons learned from the last decades.