San Diego State University was ordered Wednesday to pay more than $3 million to a former women’s basketball coach who claimed she was fired in retaliation for demanding equal treatment of women’s athletics programs.
Beth Burns, who is currently an assistant coach at USC, left SDSU abruptly in April 2013 after a 27-win season and with more wins than any coach in the history of SDSU women’s basketball.
She claims she was told she must either resign, retire or be fired due to an alleged workplace violence incident caught on videotape. Burns, who has said she did not strike anyone intentionally, opted to retire to save her pension.
She sued, claiming her termination was retaliation for complaining about unfair treatment between men’s and women’s athletics at the Division I school.
The alleged incident was captured on video in February 2013 during a game against Colorado State. Burns can be seen twice making contact with assistant coach Adam Barrett. The first time, she appears to hit a clipboard Barrett was holding. Later, she appears to hit the coach in the shoulder.
Burns would often complain about the differences in support for housing, facilities, staffing and equipment between the men’s and women’s basketball programs.
She helped the Aztecs make seven NCAA appearances during her career, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. She also led her team to six regular-season conference championships and four league tournament titles.