Heather Mason has been relieved of her duties as associate strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tennessee.
UT spokesperson Jimmy Stanton said via text message Thursday night that Mason had been “placed on administrative leave until June 3 at which time she will no longer by employed by the University.”
No reason was given for the move. Mason could not be reached for comment.
One of three plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the university last fall, Mason was in her 10th season at UT. Her biography in the women’s basketball media guide said that in addition to her work with the sport, she was “responsible for all facets of training 11 Lady Vol teams.”
Mason, along with associate director of sports medicine Jenny Moshak, filed a lawsuit against the university in U.S. District Court last October, alleging discrimination and retaliation. The third plaintiff is Collin Schlosser, a former Lady Vols associate director for strength and conditioning who was laid off last April.
The suit, which was filed by attorneys Keith D. Stewart and Stacey C. Sisco, alleged that the university had created “a testosterone wall” effectively prohibiting women from earning equal play and “further denying Plaintiffs the opportunity to advance their careers by working in men’s athletics at the University of Tennessee.”
Mason, Moshak and Schlosser originally filed a discrimination complaint in February of 2010 with UT’s office of Equity and Diversity in which they each compared their salary to an employee from men’s athletics, whose primary responsibilities centered around football. The claim, which twice was rejected by the university, was taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the original complaint, Mason compared her position to four men who had held the title of men’s director of strength and conditioning in the three previous years. All made at least $20,000 more than Mason’s salary of $80,000.
Mason’s salary has increased since and was earning $102,500, according to the News Sentinel database for UT employees.
Mason, who received her undergraduate degree at Cincinnati in 1996, came to Tennessee after five years at Notre Dame and two at Cincinnati. She was mentored by current Ohio State director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti while at Cincinnati and Notre Dame.