Ex-Lady Raider coach Marlene Stollings files lawsuit against TTU, Hocutt, claims discrimination

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FILE – In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, Texas Tech head coach Marlene Stollings reacts to a play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Waco Texas. Texas Tech women’s basketball players have accused Stollings and her staff of fostering a culture of abuse that led to an exodus from the program, according to a report published Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in USA Today. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte, File)

LUBBOCK, Texas — Former Texas Tech Lady Raiders head coach Marlene Stollings filed a lawsuit against Texas Tech University and Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt Tuesday.

The lawsuit claims breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent inducement, defamation and sex discrimination.

Texas Tech fired Stollings in August, a day after a USA Today article described a toxic culture within Stollings’ program.

She was the Lady Raiders’ head coach for two seasons before her contract was terminated.

Related Story: Hocutt vows to improve after firing Stollings

According to a statement put out by Michelman & Robinson LLP, which is representing Stollings, she “seeks to expose the innerworkings of Texas Tech’s Athletic Department under Hocutt and put an end to the discriminatory treatment of women within the Athletics Department.”

Stollings’ lawsuit claims that she could not have been fired for cause. An internal review into the program found no inappropriate or abusive conduct by Stollings, per the lawsuit.

“This termination could not properly have been for cause,” the lawsuit said. “Texas Tech’s own internal reviews had found—accurately—that Coach Stollings had not taken any actions which were in violation of her employment contract.”

The lawsuit also said that players transferred away from Texas Tech to join less demanding and competitive programs. It said that players made negative comments about the Lady Raider program to secure eligibility waivers, which would allow them to play immediately at their next school.

“In order to secure a transfer and continue playing without interruption, NCAA rules
require that student-athletes must claim that the transfer is based on a desire to avoid a negative atmosphere or for physical and mental health reasons. As a result, some of the departing student-athletes provided negative feedback about their experiences with the Lady Raiders.”

The lawsuit goes on to say that Texas Tech’s decision to fire Stollings was based on discriminatory biases against female coaches.

“Texas Tech and Mr. Hocutt regularly, and in this instance in particular, penalized female coaches for employing the same demanding and effective coaching techniques that male coaches utilize and utilized without consequence,” the lawsuit said.

In addition, Stollings’ lawsuit accused Texas Tech and Hocutt of mistreating members of the gay and lesbian community.

“That Stollings identifies as LGBTQ, and is one of four members of the gay and lesbian community to be victimized by the Texas Tech Athletic Department in 2020, is yet another critical facet of her discrimination claims,” Michelman & Robinson LLP’s statement said.

In her lawsuit, Stollings seeks damages to an amount that will be determined in court.

Texas Tech has not yet filed its side of the story in court records.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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