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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quinnipiac fires Sparks, volleyball coach

Despite the dismissal of its women’s volleyball coach, Quinnipiac insists the program will continue.
Head coach Robin Lamott Sparks, who was also a public relations professor at the school, was dismissed from both positions earlier in the week. Citing institution policy, Quinnipiac did not give a reason for her dismissal. Two anonymous sources told the Quinnipiac Chronicle that Sparks was fired.
“The University will not comment about this internal personnel matter, except to say that it is completely unrelated to the Title IX lawsuit,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “The University will be hiring a new coach and is making every effort to minimize any potential disruption to the volleyball team.”
Sparks was with the team for the past five seasons. During her tenure the team seemingly won as many battles in court than it did on it. Sparks leaves Quinnipiac with a record of 20-133 and went 4-25 last season.
But Sparks saved the volleyball program from the school’s chopping block. In 2010, citing the need to trim expenses from its sports budget, Quinnipiac made initial plans to eliminate the sport.
Sparks, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, took the school to court to block their intentions.
The litigants contested that Quinnipiac would be in violation of Title IX which states that women should have equal opportunities that are provided for men. Sparks’ side won, eventually earning total vindication as the school was found negligent in its compliance with Title IX.
The case drew national attention as Sparks’ legal side put cheerleading as a varsity sport on trial and contested that Quinnipiac’s fledgling acrobatic and tumbling squad was created just to skirt the school’s Title IX inequities. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the volleyball players and their coach and blocked the school from dropping the program.
According to the Quinnipiac Chronicle, Sparks was escorted off campus earlier in the week.
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