UNF to pay former women’s basketball coach Mary Tappmeyer $1.25 million

By: Steve Patterson, March 12, 2016, The Florida Times-Union

Former University of North Florida women’s basketball coach Mary Tappmeyer will be paid $1.25 million to settle claims involving sex-discrimination and retaliation for complaints.

UNF President John Delaney said school officials “unequivocally reject” Tappmeyer’s claims but agreed to the settlement because it was cheaper than fighting a lawsuit. “It’s what you would call a nuisance settlement,” Delaney said. He said the university would pay $500,000, and the state’s risk management system would cover the remaining $750,000.

Delaney said UNF could prove in court it didn’t discriminate but made “a business decision” whose advantage was a quick resolution without more legal costs. “I just saw the meter running endlessly” without that, Delaney said.

The settlement was negotiated without Tappmeyer suing, but she agreed to withdraw a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as part of the deal.

The settlement “speaks for itself,” said Linda Correia, Tappmeyer’s attorney, who said the settlement “sends a clear message that retaliation is not OK when coaches stand up for their players’ equal rights.” Tappmeyer was a fixture of UNF sports,
coaching the women’s basketball team from its creation in 1991 until last year, when her contract wasn’t renewed.

In written comments, Tappmeyer said she was “hopeful UNF will work to get back to the days when it prided itself on gender equity in athletics,” and said she would support the Ospreys women’s team. “Women at UNF deserve an equal opportunity to not only participate in athletics, but also to succeed,” she said.

Read the Florida Times-Union article here.