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San Diego State University faces a Title IX lawsuit. How will this impact equality in sports?

 May 23, 2023 at 3:07 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on KPBS. Today , we are talking about gender equality in sports. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired and make you think. A Title nine lawsuit against SDSU over financial aid Disparities between men's and women's athletics gets the green light.


S1: Plus , how representation in women's sports is changing. And we highlight the wave FCS season. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A Title nine lawsuit against SDSU will go forward after a San Diego federal judge ruled that a number of female student athletes will be able to seek damages after receiving less money in scholarship funding than their male counterparts. The ruling could have major implications in how current and former athletes seek damages from their universities and how athletic scholarships are doled out. Joining me now to break down this first of its kind ruling is legal analyst Dan Eaton , partner in the San Diego firm of Seltzer , Kaplan , McMahon and Vitek. He also teaches business ethics and employment law at San Diego State University. Dan , welcome back to the program.

S2: Thanks , Jayden. In that line , let's be clear that I'm only giving my own opinions and these opinions are in no way associated with SDSU. Okay , good. Okay.

S1: All right.

S2: Now , a lot of the attention on Title nine has been in the field of athletics , but it is in no way limited to collegiate athletics.

S1: So it's not limited to athletics.

S2: And one of those regulations says that no person shall , on the basis of sex , be excluded from participation in be denied the benefits of be treated differently from any other person or otherwise be discriminated against in any interest. Scholastic intercollegiate club or intramural athletics offered by a recipient , meaning the school which gets federal funds and no recipient school shall provide any such athletic separately on such basis. Close quote. So the bottom line is that athletics in Title nine and the regulation of it comes in through the regulations.

S1: Then walk us through the lawsuit in question here.

S2: One , a denial of equal athletic financial aid. Two , a denial of equal athletic benefits and treatments , and three , retaliation against certain track and field member student athletes by a coach who expressed disappointment and threatened allegedly threatened removal from the team. Nine days after the original lawsuit was was filed.


S2: And six track and field student athletes for a total of 17 named plaintiffs. But understand , again , it's being brought on behalf of all current and former female varsity student athletes.


S2: It wasn't surprising , except that the judge did break new grounds. And some of the theories that he let go forward , which was very interesting. For example , this idea of lost opportunity to compete for athletic scholarships , which had not been recognized before by any court. The judge is ruling is really interesting because he does parse out which claims some of the plaintiffs name plaintiffs are able to pursue and which they are not. And breaking those down would take more time than we have in this program. But the most important issues are that he's allowing this theory of lost opportunity to compete , to go forward with respect to the members of the rowing team , and also is recognizing , at least for the purposes of getting an order requiring the school to do better , injunctive relief that that can be asserted on behalf of psychological injury from being treated as allegedly second class citizens. Right.

S1: Right. And , you know , it would be groundbreaking.

S2: Of lost opportunity and the kinds of claims that female student athletes can assert in court. Because realize that most of these cases have focused on orders from federal courts requiring the schools to do better to comply with Title nine. This is believed to be one of the few cases where money damages are an issue. And you're talking about potentially six , maybe even a low seven figure sum with respect to money damages for lost opportunity. There also potentially other claims that I won't get into where there could be money damages. And we haven't even yet talked about the claim for retaliation , which also raises very interesting issues. Right.

S1: Right. And I want to touch on that in a bit.

S2: That word is sometimes used to suggest that there are people just waiting in the wings , getting ready to file a whole bunch of copycat lawsuits. Understand that this lawsuit is not going to be fully litigated if it goes to trial for at least another year or so , depending on what happens with this ruling and if it's appealed , depending on what the Ninth Circuit says and even potentially the US Supreme Court , it could very well set a standard that either results in further litigation or barring litigation changes in the way female and male varsity sports are funded and how those funds are allocated.

S1: As you mentioned earlier , there is this issue of retaliation in this case. After the lawsuit was initially filed , one of the coaches listed in the complaint said during a Zoom call that the athletes could be removed from the team if they participated in the suit.

S2: This is the third claim , the retaliation claim. And in this claim , we are only talking about five of the track and field team members who participated in the Zoom call who claim that this coach said she was disappointed in their participation and it could result in the removal of the team from the team. The issue there is whether the threat of removal was sufficient to constitute an adverse action that triggers a right to file a lawsuit for retaliation. And Judge Robinson said , Yeah , on its face , a sure a threat of removal could very well dissuade a reasonable person from exercising their rights to file a lawsuit or issue a complaint about Title seven violations. And therefore I am going to consider that sufficient to move forward. But again , whether this was said or not is entirely clear because plaintiffs have said that they don't have access to the Zoom tape yet because San Diego State hasn't yet released it. That's one of the many things that will be uncovered in discovery as this case moves to the next stage.


S2: So expect to see something of an amended complaint in May. If no amended complaint is filed. However , this case will move in as it has been circumscribed by Judge Robinson to the next phase of discovery. And that means depositions , request for documents and so on. And that's where it gets very interesting. Interesting because then you're going to have these student athletes testifying under oath , these coaches under oath , and you're going to see some very interesting facts coming out as a result of this lawsuit , which could lead to changes in the way some of these theories are presented in court.

S1: In a statement on the matter , SDSU said , quote , The court expressly carved out any opinion about whether the plaintiffs would be able to prove any monetary damages at some point in the future , end quote.

S2: We said concretely how each of them would have lost a certain amount of money. It was too early , said Judge Robinson , to determine that. But the judge specifically did reserve and said it may be possible that no monetary damages at all will be recovered. That's why you have to wait to go beyond the pleading stage. All we have now is the complaint , the amended complaint , as it happens , as it was filed , and the order on a motion to dismiss. There is an awful lot of other stuff that will have to take place. Discovery request from both sides about what they've got that will have to take place to determine how strong each side's case is. And at some point , you can expect I would expect there would be some effort to settle this through mediation. But if it's if it's not settled through mediation or through the intervention of a US magistrate court judge , then a trial will ultimately depend on who is believed and who has the who has the better story.

S1: You know , I mean , this is a landmark case.

S2: SDSU Understand that Title nine is focused , however , on the fair allocation of funds to women and men to create a level playing field so that women are entitled to the same kind of resources with respect to intercollegiate and interscholastic sports as men are , you can fully expect that depending on how this case ultimately comes out , people will be watching and it could very well affect who gets what going forward. Title nine is not concerned specifically with the fair allocation of resources across sport. That's an interesting question. What Title nine is concerned about is making sure that men and women in college sports have the same opportunity to compete for resources that are available.


S2: Very , very interesting because , of course , San Diego State has a relatively limited exposure to nil when you compare to some of these huge foundations in some states , particularly when you're talking about the south Alabama and places like that , it will be very interesting to see what happens with this next level of nil. It's only been around for a couple of years. You can expect that that is going to become more and more of an issue. And since we are talking about the competitive landscape , it will be very interesting to see how that affects the competitive landscape in both women's and men's collegiate sports. That's not something necessarily that Title nine will have a lot to say about , except to the extent that the schools controlled those funds. Nil is this brave new world of college sports funding and where that ends up. And its intersection with Title nine is to be determined.

S1: All of this is something we'll be keeping our eye on. I've been speaking with legal analyst Dan Eaton. Dan , thank you so much for your indeed. Dan , thanks for talking with us today. And as always , thanks for your insight.

S2: Thank you , Jay.

S1: Coming up , the conversation continues with how women are represented in sports and what's changing about that.

S3: The demand will be there and ultimately that will force the change. But I think it's slower than than we would all want. And it can be sort of self-perpetuating unless certain groups take a stronger stance.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman , An ongoing Title nine lawsuit involving athletes from San Diego State University is raising questions about equality in sports. Already , a federal judge in San Diego has ruled that the plaintiffs can seek damages from the university on the grounds of unfair scholarship funding due to gender. But beyond this legal battle are deeper issues about how women in sports are both compensated and valued by society at large. Joining me now with more is Sophie Goldschmidt , president and CEO of US ski and Snowboard and former CEO of the World Surf League. Sophie , welcome to the program. We're so glad to have you.

S3: Thank you. Yeah , pleasure to be here.

S1: So , Sophie , first things first.

S3: I think having said that , progress needs to continue to happen , and it's not like we can just rely on Title nine to get us to where we ultimately should be and sort of full equality across all levels of sport. But I think it was pretty groundbreaking legislation that was put in place decades ago , which definitely accelerated equality in women's sports at the collegiate level. While there's still some gaps and it's not where it needs to be. I think it's been an important step in the movement and yeah , hopefully more to come. And , you.

S1: Know , outside of compensation , one of the most glaring examples of the gender gap in sports is how coverage of women's sports really differs from their male counterparts.

S3: I think , you know , society has just been sort of trained one way for for so long. There were so many more male pro sports and just brought in general sort of opportunities , whether it was at the collegiate level or at the pro level. And society just became used to showcasing and broadcasting that and covering it in the media. And that's what media companies became used to and advertising companies. And it sort of becomes a bit of a virtuous circle. But as I think we've seen , especially in recent months , there is a real appetite for for women's sports. You know , the whole famous Billie Jean King quote , if you see it , then you can believe it. And you know , young girls are now growing up believing more than ever that they have an opportunity to make a career in sports , either as an athlete or working in the sports. And so I think , you know , the demand will be there and ultimately that will force the change. But I think it's it's slower than than we would all want. And it can be sort of self perpetuating unless certain groups take kind of a stronger stance. And I think , you know , pointing to the stats , pointing to the facts and the ratings , you know , recently the women's NCAA basketball tournament , that obviously got a huge amount of exposure. The fact that those final games rated more highly than some games I think was very powerful as well as various other important women's games and matches that have really cut through and garnered huge audiences. And that's without nearly the same promotion and exposure. So it shows that there is an appetite and I hope that that will , you know , now begin to be more fairly represented in what we see and read and are able to to watch. Right.

S1: Right. I mean , and as you mentioned , there's there's an appetite for this. But , you know , there's there's a lot of resources in advertising that go into marketing men's athletics , as you mentioned. And we typically don't see that for women's athletics.

S3: I think every sort of stakeholder within the ecosystem. I think the you know , the women's sports themselves and the athletes are doing such much better job of promoting themselves and telling their stories and they need to do better. Let's make it as compelling as possible. Let's bring these personalities to life. Let's showcase this charisma. Let's get more innovative. Let's do things that maybe men's sports can't do. Then the media companies need to step up , look at the data , look at the ratings. There's absolutely no reason that there should be the gap in exposure that there is. So media companies do the right thing. Then on the just general press coverage front , we know now that there is an appetite and that people want to follow these sports. So dedicate some different resources to it. It may mean that you need to hire different journalists. And look , it's at a time when economically some of these media companies are struggling and looking to cut costs rather than increase costs. So. Think we need to sort of push from all directions and realize we're in it together. And it's not an either or. It's not about necessarily taking away from the men's sports at all. This is complementary and additive. Yes , there's overlap. Some of the audiences are the same , but there's also a new audience you can reach through women's sports , which can drive greater ratings and new demographic and new commercial interest. And ultimately , look , a lot of this is driven by the fans and consumer and then the commercial brands , the commercial brands pay for the advertising , whether it's in TV or in different magazines and publications or on social channels. And so I think them sort of putting their money where their mouth is and , you know , fair play to them. We've seen some brands step up in a major way , Anheuser-Busch with their Michelob Ultra commitment ally. What they've done in soccer Google's beginning to to invest more. So we are seeing some brands really begin to cut through and we need more of it. You know , they're doing that not to make us feel good. They're doing that because it's a good business decision. So I hope it's just a matter of when we catch up , not if and hopefully by all working together we can see some further fundamental change really quickly.

S1: You're listening to Midday Edition on KPBS , and I'm talking about equality and equity in sports with Sophie Goldschmidt , president and CEO of US Ski and Snowboard. Sophie , you know , compensation is a big part of this conversation. For example , when you were CEO of the World Surf League , you instituted equal prize money for male and female competitors.

S3: I think , look , there isn't a silver bullet to sort of solving this equality issue , but I think pay is one important component. And I think , A , the women deserved it. It was sort of almost paying it forward for years of being underpaid. I think it gets a different conversation going. You know , the pay gap is always something that garners attention. So I think it helped to sort of draw attention to it for sort of other reasons as well. And ultimately , you know , it's the right thing to do. It has to make business sense as well. I think , look , if some organizations started paying the same for female athletes as male when they're not making the same revenues , then those leagues wouldn't be sustainable. So , you know , it's it's sort of one step at a time and it's got to be done in a way that isn't going to bankrupt a sports league. But for us in surfing , it was absolutely the right time. We could justify it , we could afford it. And it certainly sparked further change and other organizations in the sport stepping up , which was which was awesome to see.


S3: We have a World Cup schedule where our athletes compete around the world , and we've had equal prize money in snow sports for many years. So way ahead of many organizations , which we're really proud of. Also , you know , just how well the women have done in the US , most notably Mikaela Shiffrin recently , who became the winningest best alpine skier in the world ever , man or woman. She broke every record. So when you have those kind of opportunities that transcend your sport and kind of even , you know , cut through in society in a different way , it led to her being named one of Time's most influential top 100 people. So I think , you know , Snow Sports has done a really good job. I think when you look back , tennis was very pioneering. I worked in tennis earlier on in my career thanks to Billie Jean King , who was actually part of Title nine. And they had equal prize money at certain events. They still actually don't have it at all events. So they kind of have sort of maybe lost a little bit of momentum. But I think when you look back to what they were doing 30 , 40 years ago , kind of starting the conversation , you know , often paying women the same as men that long ago , that was very pioneering and groundbreaking. So I think there , you know , different examples. Obviously , what the women's national team fought for in soccer , getting equal pay for the national team was very powerful and certainly got the conversation going at another level. Um , at the league level , NWSL players certainly aren't making close to what MLS players are making on the men's side , but hopefully that will change. I think , look , another key factor is a lot of these women's sports quite new compared to the men's at a professional level. And these things do take time. They can't change overnight because they're not sustainable necessarily. Sometimes they can , but you've got to keep seeing the progress. And that's where it's been , you know , a little. Up and down and think that's that's what we've got to keep pushing for. We need consistent progress heading in the right direction on all fronts from a pay from an exposure standpoint , from marketing standpoint. You know , we need to keep heading in the right direction because these women deserve it and it's what society is demanding.

S1: I feel like it's this debate over whether or not to go ahead and make the investment in marketing , and then we'll see equal pay for women or to make sure the audience is there first and then make the investment.

S3: Yeah , I mean , I think look , I think there is a bit of a leap of faith and I think enough now has been proven to show that the audience is there and there is the demand. But you need to make it easier for people to engage. You know , you're you're getting these significant audiences for certain events without the marketing and promotion. So just imagine if there was more marketing and promotion. So let's give it a chance. Look , the signs are there that it's more than a trend. It's , you know , clear that this is here to stay. So how much do you want to accelerate it ? Because and again , it's it's it's adding to the mix don't feel I think sometimes people sort of think , oh , if we give more to women , we're taking it away from men. No , that's not what we're talking about. You know , there's a big enough audience to support both sports fans. Like all sports in general , there are some that are very focused , but there's a lot that will dip between different sports. It depends what's on and what time works with their schedule and what personalities are competing that day. So I really feel it's additive to the pie rather than sort of taking away.


S3: I mean , I think there's some similarities and some traits that work across both genders , but then there's some things that are unique to each mean think on the women's side. Well , certainly from a fan perspective , I think the storytelling and getting a little bit deeper , feeling more of a relevance. I know from some of the research we've done at organizations I've been at is really important. It's not just about the global superstars and the the facts and the stats. They want to get a little bit deeper and kind of feel that connection. So I think there is a way to shape it slightly differently , but I think there are some themes that are very consistent across both as well. So I think it's kind of a mix , to be honest , because look , fans of women's sports aren't just women. I think you'll find actually , if anything , it's more men than women. Watch women's sports. So you want to appeal. We want the audience to be as big as possible. Mean , of course they want women , but I want as many men as well. So I think , you know , that's where the messaging sort of depends a little bit on the demographic and who you're hitting rather than what the sport is per se.

S1: And here locally , our professional women's soccer club , San Diego Wave , they enjoy a a really loyal fan base.

S3: I think one thing that can help accelerate the growth is having packed stadiums , having people that are willing to buy tickets. In the past , one of the revenue streams where there has been quite a difference is ticket sales , men's sports , again , a bit of a generalization , but in general have had much bigger audiences and they've been able to charge higher ticket prices and that's a pretty key revenue item that determines how much people are paid and how much goes into marketing , etcetera. And the grassroots controls that. That's the fans , them showing up , then being willing to not pay too much , that it becomes unaffordable , but to pay a good ticket price so that ultimately those organizations can invest back in players and the teams and the marketing around the teams is really important. So I think the grass roots area has a huge role to play and really igniting those fan bases and getting them engaged because by the way , the bigger the fan base , then also commercially for sponsors , it becomes more interesting if , you know , the San Diego wave is getting 10,000 versus 30,000 to a game , you know , you would almost as a sponsor , I'm going to pay 2 or 3 times as much , depending how big your fan base is. So , yeah , I think there is sort of a direct correlation and I think that fan and grassroots support is really , really important and can be kind of a bit of a game changer because I think again , if you get that connection with the athletes , I think the way that the pros on those teams can engage in the community , can go to the schools , can go to the local clubs , can really build that relationship. I think that's something there's the opportunity for female athletes to do even better than the male athletes. And a lot of the men do it very well , by the way. But , you know , why not really excel in that area from a female perspective if that's going to be a bit of a differentiator , differentiator and allow you to to grow your fan base more quickly , that would seem like a no brainer.

S1: I've been speaking with Sophie Goldschmidt , president and CEO of US Ski and Snowboard. Sophie , thanks so much. For talking with us today.

S3: My pleasure. Thank you for having me on.

S1: Coming up , the wave is having a good season. We'll talk about what's ahead for the team. You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. The San Diego Wave FC defeated the Houston Dash three nil on Saturday , putting the wave in third place in the National Women's Soccer League standings. Here's what Wave head coach Casey Stoney had to say after the Waves Decisive road win.

S4: I'm really , really , really proud of the players. It's been a tough three weeks and we could have come off the back of Washington and had a very different response. But this group is incredible , you know , and they just they never cease to amaze me in terms of the people in this group and the what they're able to deliver in very difficult circumstances.

S1: The team returns to home turf at Snapdragon Stadium on Friday and hopes it can get closer to the top of the league. Here to share more on how the team is doing in its sophomore season is San Diego Wave team President Jill Ellis. Jill , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S5: Thank you. Delighted to be here.

S1: So on our program today , we've been talking about Title nine and the topic of gender equality in sports.

S5: We still got a long way to go. Think that's probably the narrative. You hear for most most people in sports either gender it's think we've still got a massive gap to close. But you know , I certainly think the investment is starting to show returns , meaning that , you know , now you look globally and you see full stadiums , you see sponsors starting to step up. So I think people are recognizing that this , you know , it's it's a viable business model. And it's it's something that I think people are acknowledging now. And finally and so , you know , with the investment with better TV deals with full stadiums , you know that helps obviously push the the battle for pay as well. Um , you know , I worked for an owner and obviously we're it's a it's a business model revenue but also you know how we make sure that how we treat the players you know the the resources they have available to them is , is also where I think the gap is really closed. You know it used to be years past where it wasn't a weight room and there wasn't charter flights. And now those are becoming more and more commonplace. So yeah. Summary I think we've made strides , but still a big push in terms of television rights and sponsorship deals.

S1: All right. Well , we definitely want to talk about the successful first season the wave had for an expansion team last year , making it to the semifinals.

S5: I think we did a great job in the off season of you always want to sort of strengthen from year to year. You know , when I was a college coach , it always , you know , you always recruited one more as good as your best. So I think we've done a good job of bringing in some additional pieces. You know , Danny Colaprete has come in and been an immediate impact. Rachel Hill So think , you know , those added to the current roster that we had I think has definitely helped us. I think , you know , overall though , everyone just kind of feels , you know , last year we had four months to launch. It was crazy. It was madness. You know , there wasn't a whole lot of processes in place. And I think now we've , you know , everyone feels just a lot more established , a lot more just in terms of our processes and what we want to do. Everything from selling tickets to our training ground where the players train to upgrading our facilities. I think all these things have helped us really remain focused and hungry. I think that's the bottom line. We got a coach that wants to win and a group of players that are committed to and motivated.

S1: And in last weekend's Match Star Forward , Alex Morgan scored her fifth goal of the season.

S5: Think you know , Alex is someone that she's a she's a fierce competitor obviously a tremendous forward. I had the privilege of coaching Alex with the women's national team. And so I know what she can do on the pitch and a prolific goal scorer. So it leads in that way. But also , you know , recognizes we've got young players coming in , new players to the league and , you know , really tries to make them feel welcome and and think by being a good pro , she sets a good example. You know , she's a very good professional. So I think she's happy. I think she's really excited to be in Southern California , living here close to a family. I think that just helps the overall , you know , the holistic approach to to a sport , really. Right.

S1: Right. And and San Diego Sierra in Gai scored her first career goal Saturday. What impressed you most about her rookie season for.

S5: Rookie season to come in and now she started a couple of games and she scored. It's pretty impressive , you know , because the jump from college to the pros is it sometimes it can it can be a big leap. So I think she's integrated incredibly well. Really smart player , very comfortable on the ball. You know , she's she plays with great composure and sophistication and she has some versatility. You know , we've played her in the backline , we've played her in the midfield and she's yeah , I mean for , for a young player coming in and starting , she's adapted incredibly well.

S1: In earlier you mentioned the younger players coming into the league. Another San Diegan , 15 year old Melanie Barcelonas , made her debut for the club earlier this season and made history in the process as the youngest player in the National Women's Soccer League match.

S5: You know , you have to make sure because , again , you want the experience to be positive. And obviously there's there's the soccer side and then there's the social side in terms of adapting. So I think , you know , she's been in with us for a year. Before we signed her , she'd been training. The players were very comfortable with her. I mean , there's no doubt about her talent. But again , you want to make sure it's a positive experience. So , you know , protecting her a little bit from the media and also making sure that we're you know , that our coach is using her in moments that , you know , really you don't want her to come in and play 90 minutes every game because it's just not something she's used to. So you bring them along and think , we've done a really good job of just investing in her and acknowledging that , yes , she's young , but she's obviously very , very special.

S1: You know , to that point. How important is it that your players are in a good headspace ? They're happy about their situation. They've got the support and resources that they need.

S5: You can put great talent on on a pitch and not get results. And sometimes you can have a less talented team and get good results. You know , I think a coach's job is always like to say they're sort of a caretaker of of souls , really. You know , they're trying to help young people achieve ambition. And so that's making sure that you approach them not just as a commodity on the pitch , that they are people , that you connect with them outside of there in terms of , you know , getting to know them and their family situation , etcetera , etcetera. So I think , you know , the idea now is you just coach the athlete. It's it's the coaching of the past. I think now you've got to coach the person and that means who they are , both in your locker room and on the pitch and in their own environment. So I think it's very important that players mentally or feeling valued have clarity and really feel like they're they're being respected.

S1: You're listening to Midday Edition on KPBS , and I'm speaking with Jill Ellis , president of the San Diego Wave FC. And , you know , I can't not mention this. You know , earlier this month , you were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame , along with another local soccer legend in San Diego , Landon Donovan. So lots of history being made with the wave in particular. So first of all , congratulations on that honor.

S5: You know , it's it's kind of like , you know , in your lives , you kind of go through and you do your work. And there's very few moments , especially as a coach , that you actually look backwards. Like it's always about what's next. And it was it was actually a moment to really look back on , you know , 30 years almost and to realize how many amazing people have crossed my path and how influenced I've been , whether it's from players to coaches to mentors to family. And so it was truly an a chance to kind of acknowledge all those that had a massive role to play in my journey. And it just yeah , it's humbling. I mean , you know , you kind of just realize that the truly takes a village and it's a tremendous honor , but you don't get there alone. So but it was it was a nice moment to reflect.

S1: Mm hmm. Jill Last Thursday , Major League Soccer , the top men's league in the country , announced San Diego will be home to its 30th franchise.

S5: You know , we've had amazing players come out of this this area. And , you know , there was a women's professional team probably over ten , 12 years ago. And so to have , you know , professional soccer here I think validates this , you know , as a soccer community , as a sporting community. You know , I like to think that they've talked about a team coming for a while. And I think that , you know , in truth , how well the wave have done in terms of attendance and creating a synergy both ourselves and the loyal are here. And so I think it's it's helped kind of , I think , pave the way for for this commitment. It's a massive commitment. But I just think , again , it brings our sport to the forefront. And so I think it benefits , you know , everybody in our community to , you know , to have a soccer be showcased. I mean , I think we've got you know , we've shown that when you can have world class players , you know , world champions , Olympic champions on the pitch , people want to come out and watch. They want to see that that high level of talent.

S1: Mm hmm. And on Friday , the wave will take the pitch at Snapdragon to take on Portland. What are you. What. What are you. Where's your head ? Space on that match.

S5: You mentioned this , I think , or you mentioned earlier , it is a big match because , you know , we're I think we're tied for points there ahead of us on goal differential. So between the top three teams , there's only a one point difference. And you know , you want to you want to keep you want to pick up points at home. So they're they just had a also a very big result. I think they had A41 victory. So they're feeling feeling good. Listen on the pitch is going to be again Sophia Smith is you know like Alex Morgan she's a forward for the US women's national team. So I think there's going to be some star power out there. I think it's going to be a really intense match. Exciting. We're going to obviously push for a big crowd Friday night to help help push us , push us over the edge. But it's going to be highly competitive and think it's a game that really matters. So we definitely want the fans out to support us and push us. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. Speaking of the fans , you're going to be honoring the military in that match. Tell us more about that.

S5: Yeah , military appreciation. I mean , you know , I well , I'm a military you know , my father was in the Royal Marines when I grew up in England. So I've I've lived that life , you know , traveling around and obviously just , you know , personal level , tremendous respect and value in our military community. So to be able to honor them , I think is going to be special. I think we're gonna have a flyover and , you know , obviously invite a lot of a lot of local. I mean , this is what's so beautiful about San Diego. I mean , it's like every branch of the military is represented here. So I think just to kind of celebrate that and a chance to say thank you. So it's gonna be great. I think we'll have we'll have specific merchandise as well to support that , which is great. But listen , I think anytime we can celebrate our community in some way and some facet of it , I think it's , you know , really shows I think our commitment to trying to be a team that is a part of the fabric of this community. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And finally , the FIFA Women's World Cup is coming up fast. It starts July 20th and is taking place in Australia and New Zealand. A few wave players will be playing there , notably Alex Morgan for the US , but also goalkeeper Caitlin Sheridan for Canada.

S5: No , I'm just kidding. Um , we. Yeah , we'll have Sophia Jacobson there representing Sweden. I mean , you know , it's a tremendous honor for them. I think the you know , right now , I'm not sure the rosters have been named and I know players get superstitious. Um , but yes , I think we'll have we'll have strong representation. I think Naomi Girma also from our team will be there. But I mean , the reality is when you go to a World Cup , there's always going to be some form of adversity , whether it's losing in your opening game , whether it's picking up , you know , injuries on your team. It's the team that kind of can can ride that and stay calm , stay in the moment and stay together. Think is a big part of it and obviously preparation. So I would just tell them just to you know , it's going to be a roller coaster , but to put their seatbelts and enjoy the ride and to soak it all in , think my first World Cup , I didn't really , you know , afterwards give myself time to kind of feel feel what it was and how special it was. But I made sure in 19 to , you know , to really kind of take a moment on there on the final game and just take it all in. So that's what would be my advice to them , enjoy themselves.

S1: All right. Well , we are wishing the best to those who are playing in the World Cup and also on your season. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I've been speaking with Jill Ellis , National Soccer Hall of Fame member and president of the San Diego Wave FC. As always , Jill , it's good talking with you.

S5: Thank you so much for having us.

S1: What are your thoughts on how women are compensated and represented in sports ? Give us a call. (619) 452-0228. You can leave a message or you can email us at midday at Join us again tomorrow at noon. We are talking about Memorial Day. And if you ever miss a show. You can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

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San Diego State University is shown in this undated photo.
Emilyn Mohebbi
San Diego State University is shown in this undated photo.

A San Diego federal judge has issued a first-of-its-kind ruling in an ongoing Title IX lawsuit against San Diego State University.

The suit could set a precedent for college athletes seeking financial damages from their universities. The issue of equal funding also raises questions about promoting equity in male and female professional sports.

Plus, we hear from Jill Ellis from San Diego Wave FC on gender equality in soccer and how the team is faring in its second season.


Dan Eaton, legal analyst and partner in the San Diego firm of Seltzer, Caplan, McMahon and Vitek

Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard

Jill Ellis, President of San Diego Wave FC