UC settles lawsuit

$40,000 won by dismissed volleyball player

Photo courtesy of queencitytour.blogspot.com | University of Cincinnati settled a lawsuit with former athlete Shalom Ifeanyi. She said she was kicked off the team for not removing photos.

The Newswire uses the words “allegedly” and “claimed” to avoid any potential bias towards any of the involved parties. These words are neither a confirmation nor a denial of any particular claim in the case.

The University of Cincinnati (UC) settled a lawsuit with former volleyball player Shalom Ifeanyi, who claimed she was kicked off the UC volleyball team for Instagram pictures that were deemed “too sexy.”

The university paid Ifeanyi $40,000 as part of the settlement but did not admit any wrongdoing in the case.

Ifeanyi sued the school and coach Molly Alvey in March 2017 for sex discrimination, racial discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment.

Ifeanyi, who is Black, transferred to UC from Oregon State. She was dismissed from the team in June 2017, 10 days after Alvey texted her to delete photos off her Instagram.

The lawsuit claims that no other members of the team who were of a “slighter build and lighter complexion” were not criticized for their photos, even those in bikinis, while Ifeanyi was fully clothed in all of her photos that were asked to be taken down.

First-year Emily Stys expressed anger about the case, stating that it was “ridiculous” that Ifeanyi was kicked off the team.

If the coach was so concerned about the team’s image, Stys said, “then her concern should’ve been toward every player’s social media, rather than discriminating against one specific player.”

Ifeanyi trained with the team during last year’s spring session while recovering from knee surgery.

The following June, she allegedly met with Alvey to discuss her rehab in addition to the upcoming season. That meeting is when Ifeanyi claimed Alvey asked her to delete a certain photo. A few days later, Alvey texted Ifeanyi again and asked her to remove more photos.

Ifeanyi continued training with the team and was named top performer of the week by the strength and conditioning coach. However a few days after that recognition, Alvey called Ifeanyi into her office and dismissed her from the team. The explanation given for the dismissal was that Alvey and Ifeanyi had “different philosophies.”

Alvey, who took UC volleyball to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011 last year, remains the head coach despite a petition on the website Care2 with more than 26,000 signatures calling for her to be fired since the lawsuit was filed.

Ifeanyi is ineligible to play volleyball for the 2018-19 season because of NCAA transfer rules.

By: Joe Clark | Guest Writer