UT rejects discrimination claim by 3 women's athletic department employees

Heather Mason

Heather Mason

Jenny Moshak

Jenny Moshak

Collin Schlosser

Collin Schlosser

When three University of Tennessee women's athletic department employees jointly filed a discrimination complaint in February 2010, they each compared their respective salaries to an employee from the men's athletics department whose primary responsibilities centered around football.

In its defense of the claims, the men's athletic department argued that when it pertains to a top-revenue, athlete-loaded sport like football, which "pays the bills" for the rest of the school's varsity sports, it's hard to come up with a fair comparison.

UT's Office of Equity and Diversity agreed, ruling 10 months later that no gender discrimination occurred. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek signed off on the OED's decision and, upon an appeal from the three women's employees, so did UT President Joe DePietro, who effectively closed the case with his succinct, two-sentence denial on April 29.

The three employees behind the complaint — Associate Athletics Director for Women's Sports Medicine Jenny Moshak, Assistant Athletics Director for Women's Strength and Conditioning Heather Mason and Associate Director for Women's Strength and Conditioning Collin Schlosser — continue to work at UT and are "valued members" of the athletic department, according to UT's response.

University officials declined to comment on the complaint. Reached Tuesday, Moshak also declined to comment.

Radio station WNML first reported the discrimination suit last week.

In her respective complaint, Moshak, a UT employee since 1989, drew parallels to her male counterpart, Director of Men's Sports Medicine Jason McVeigh. At that time, Moshak earned a base salary of $87,500 at a pay grade of 46, but received a raise to $90,993 after the first phase of converging UT's once entirely separate men's and women's departments. McVeigh, at a pay grade of 45, made a base salary of $89,048 at the time of the complaint. He now makes $95,000 annually.

In its response, UT noted that Moshak wound up making more than McVeigh in 2009 thanks to the $26,000 she earned from working in women's basketball coach Pat Summitt's summer basketball camps along with other bonuses. Moshak made $116,664.36 in total compensation in 2009 while McVeigh made $98,058.60.

UT cited a number of reasons, including the number of athletes McVeigh was directly responsible for (195 to 14), budget responsibilities ($657,500 to $535,000) and importance to athletics to conclude that there was no direct comparison between the two.

"With no disrespect being intended to Ms. Moshak, Mr. McVeigh's position is more important to athletics because of his football-related responsibilities," UT wrote.

Though the OED found no evidence of gender discrimination, it did find inconsistencies in UT Human Resource's valuations of McVeigh's and Moshak's respective Position Description Questionnaires and corresponding salaries. Cheek ultimately disagreed, writing that the Hay System — the process UT uses to determine pay grades and salaries — does not factor in market value.

"To maintain a premier football program, it is appropriate to meet or exceed the salaries that prospective employees are earning at other institutions and the salaries that university employees could earn at other universities," Cheek wrote.

In her complaint, Mason compares her position to the numerous men who have held the title of "men's director of strength and conditioning" over the past three years. Johnny Long ($115,000), Mark Smith (190,000), Aaron Ausmus ($100,000) and Bennie Wylie ($225,000) all made more than Mason, who earned $80,000 annually at the time of the complaint.

UT used the same line of reasoning to differentiate the job responsibilities of Mason, a UT employee since 2003, and her male counterpart. The OED, again, could not find any grounds for gender discrimination.

The OED dismissed Schlosser's complaint because he could not show "an employee of the opposite sex earning more compensation for a job that is substantially equal."

In their initial complaints, Moshak, Mason and Schlosser all wrote that they had been respectively informed that "complexities of football" played into why they made less money than their assumed counterparts.

In its response to their complaint, UT Human Resources summarized the perceived "complexities" of a sport that generated $42.9 million in revenue for an athletic department with a budget of close to $100 million.

"At this level of competition football is the engine that drives the athletics program and provides the majority of income," HR wrote. "To ensure this income stream it is necessary to provide a competitive football program which will continue to attract fans, donations, and television revenue."

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Comments » 84

Caneoverthere writes:

"Suit them up" we couldn't get worse.

PANCHO writes:

I smell a big federal lawsuit coming against UT.

clvolfan writes:

in response to PANCHO:

I smell a big federal lawsuit coming against UT.

Me too!,and how soon will we hear that UT has found a reason for same to also no longer be with the university?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think I hurt myself laughing. I think the homecoming queen was the guy.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Maybe they should go burn their bras now. Pssh. Ridiculous.

GONAVY writes:

Can't believe Summitt didn't walk into Cheek's office and tell him to ante up...

BigBadVol writes:

"Nothing to see here folks, now move on". Insanity.

alfrizzle097 writes:

Don't you know, it is gender discrimination to pay an NBA coach more than a WNBA coach. THE ECONOMICS ARE DIFFERENT and people like this are the reason that gender and racial (paralell situations) get dismissed today.

devan95#483873 writes:

All of them make exorbitant salaries, especially when you factor in the benefits package. Instead of increasing tuition for increasingly useless and irrelevant degrees, how bout some serious pay cuts...

Volumnus writes:

If any of the three aforementioned idiots were on the open market in Ktown they would be apprentice greeters at Walmart. Fire them and hire one of the people graduating this year looking for a job!

WALMART IS CALLING!!!

allvol32 writes:

All three make very nice salaries working in positions that most people would love to have. They ought to be thankful to have such good jobs instead of walking around with their hands out complaining about imagined inequities.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

"To maintain a premier football program, it is appropriate to meet or exceed the salaries that prospective employees are earning at other institutions and the salaries that university employees could earn at other universities," Cheek wrote."

Maybe Cheek should apply that philosophy to the position of Head Coach of Football rather than dime-storing our program to death.

atnvol#283282 writes:

All three complaintants are over paid and their lawsuits are based upon greed. Moshak should have known better....this was not well thought out and most likely was encouraged by some ambulance chaser. Regardless of what the universitys public response is, the three complaintants will forever be viewed as "damaged goods".

bigchief writes:

ride their @zz on a rail out of town,if they have time to study up this kind of s#$@ then they are not doing their job that they were hired for in the first place GBO

Sir_Spanky writes:

90 grand a year and tore all to pieces because somebody's making a couple of grand more. Poor thang.

GreeneVol writes:

Based purely on the men vs. women athletes managed, revenue and budget numbers, and this is what UT used as verification, it appears that Moshak's pay is way too close to McVeigh's. Isn't that the problem to begin with?

SummittsCourt writes:

You tried to get a raise, it didn't work, nice try, now move on and get over it.

volaholic45 writes:

faces of envy

CrankE writes:

The one that really jumped out at me was this:

"UT cited a number of reasons, including the number of athletes McVeigh was directly responsible for (195 to 14), budget responsibilities ($657,500 to $535,000)"

If anything, the difference between the two salaries should be greater instead of smaller. I didn't realize the "gender gap" in responsibilities, number of athletes served, and overall budget.

I presume that with the extra time they would have in taking care of 181 fewer athletes, perhaps they could have discovered this for themselves. Instead, they filed a lawsuit.

File this one in the "I'll show Me" folder.

volboy81 writes:

WOW! I just lost MAJOR respect for Jenny and Heather. Never heard of Collin.

FatherVol writes:

in response to devan95#483873:

All of them make exorbitant salaries, especially when you factor in the benefits package. Instead of increasing tuition for increasingly useless and irrelevant degrees, how bout some serious pay cuts...

The last time I checked the UT Athletic Department received no income from student tuition. It does receive income from student ticket sales, however they are handled.

chattbud writes:

I saw all three in the Wall street protest,... film @ 11.

88volgrad writes:

There has been no lawsuit, yet. This was handled through the University's processes. They would be foolish to bring a lawsuit, though, because the reasons given for the disparity are legitimate. I think you could make a strong argument that Bennie Wylie's salary of $225,000 was too much.

Rubyred writes:

in response to devan95#483873:

All of them make exorbitant salaries, especially when you factor in the benefits package. Instead of increasing tuition for increasingly useless and irrelevant degrees, how bout some serious pay cuts...

Amen Devan! My thoughts exactly.

poston24 writes:

UT Football still makes money? Who in their right mind pays money to watch a bunch of losers?? I had rather watch the women play. At least they consistently have winning seasons.

tlallman writes:

They are making twice what they should for their level of responsibility. You just can't teach stupid.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to poston24:

UT Football still makes money? Who in their right mind pays money to watch a bunch of losers?? I had rather watch the women play. At least they consistently have winning seasons.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

voloffaith writes:

Jenny Moshak is a dedicated Vol and this lawsuit is a shame being attached to her after all her years of excellent service.

Col26ca writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

12,101 was the headcount for the game last night. Lady Vols would be in the top 10 men's programs in attendance if they were over on that side so they can pay the light bills.

NovemberNed writes:

In my opinion, those 3 are overpaid. Those who generate revenue are paid accordingly. These 3 train sports that do not generate revenue, yet they make very comparable salaries with the sports generating trainers. They should be thankful there have not been complaints of their high salaries!

voloffaith writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bye Bye for obscene/abusive per user agreement......Next time stay on topic with relevant comments and they will let you play again.

OrangePride writes:

In my experience dealing with salary disputes, it is not in the least uncommon that there is some disparity between similar roles between the men's and the women's side. Absent a set salary schedule that establishes parity based only on the title and year's experience (unusual at the college level), courts have generally not required institutions to establish concurrent pay scales. So unless there is more to this suit (such as an unusually wide disparity), it is not likely to go very far. That said, federal courts have been increasingly sensitive to this issue and you just never know what they might decide. We will see.

NovemberNed writes:

"generating revenue"... not trainers.

volman5 writes:

I think the real story here is how these 3 individuals are insanely overpaid. If I were them, I would not want to bring any attention to the fact that my compensation is more than fair, considering I do much less work than my counterparts in football.

Football is responsible for 195 athletes compared to Moshak's 14...14!

richvol writes:

Mason needs to do a better job instead of worrying about how much she makes compared to so and so. UT has had three post players that were fat and out of shape quit the team due to their inability to keep up with the rest of the girls on the team. If Mason had gotten these girls into shape and gotten some of that fat off of them we would be a better team...especially last year and the year before.

volspaws writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volumnus:

If any of the three aforementioned idiots were on the open market in Ktown they would be apprentice greeters at Walmart. Fire them and hire one of the people graduating this year looking for a job!

WALMART IS CALLING!!!

Now THAT is really too much! I buy the argument the university used in rejecting the lawsuit, but to say that these people aren't respected professionals with more education, training, and experience than the VAST majority of the population, and who could be successful in any number of related fields, is just preposterous. I guess you think you are striking a courageous blow against political correctness, but in fact you just revealed yourself as a...well, as I have said before, I don't like to indulge in gratuitous insults, but you certainly opened yourself up to a BUNCH of them.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say if Hart was smart he'd systematically start cleaning up that house as those are the people who grumble and stab you in the back(Fulmerites, but only as an excuse). Witch Doctor say those working behind the scenes do the most damage.
Bones never lie.

johnlg00 writes:

I confess I am STUNNED at the blatant sexism shown by so many on this thread. Regardless of the merits of this particular case, if this thread is any kind of indication of the general attitude toward women's sports and the staff responsible for them--more particularly if those attitudes are common in the athletic department--then I am AMAZED that there aren't more suits like this. I know this a conservative area, and football fans in particular may be more conservative than the general population, but this is not conservatism, it is outright over-reaction to the 21st century.

RJP11 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

johnlg00 writes:

Heck, these attitudes are over-reactions to the TWENTIETH century!

jopad writes:

Boo volspaws! Moshak has made a very real contribution to the Lady Vols but in my mind she, along with ALL athletic coaches, trainers, etc are overpaid. NO coach or trainer contributes more to the lives of young people than do elementary, Jr. hi, high school, or college teachers so why pay them more?

Colliervol writes:

in response to poston24:

UT Football still makes money? Who in their right mind pays money to watch a bunch of losers?? I had rather watch the women play. At least they consistently have winning seasons.

You can thank the football program for bringing home the bacon all these years so the women can field all those sports at the college level. Just being realistic. I had a daughter who ran track in college and I thanked the football program every day for contributing to her scholarship. If you'd rather watch the women play, that's fine but you can't do it without thanking football. Just the way it is and that ain't changing. And, instead of griping, these employees should thank them too for having such a nice salary to oversee a part of the women's program.

KevDVol writes:

The timing of this stinks. Next time, sue when we are winning. If you do it then, everybody is in a good mood and we have some settlement cash to throw around.

Right now, with the NCAA investigation still in our rear view and the SEC cellar floor smacking us in the face as well as the economy biting everyone in the butt - nobody wants to hear about how some trainer should be making $95,000 instead of $90,000.

And, when I say "when we are winning"....I'm talking about UT FOOTBALL...THE CASH COW that shares it's milk so trainers can make $90,000+.

james330i writes:

wow..i would be pissed if I found out my counterpart in another department only handled 14 people vs my 194 and only have a maringal increae in pay....

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say these probably some great gals but its clear that this as close as they ever gonna get to a lawsuit with sexual overtones lol. Witch Doctor say lets all stretch in their honor......ah that felt good!
Bones never lie.

Ichabod writes:

in response to volspaws:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Best line of November !!

Ichabod writes:

in response to volspaws:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Best line of November !!
I wonder what their husbands earn....???

RJP11 writes:

Icabod - I don't think husbands are all that common in the women's AD at UT ...

budd#207344 writes:

in response to RJP11:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I sure hope you don't have any daughters.

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