On December 18, 2003, Arezou Mansourian, Lauren Mancuso, and Christine Wing-Si Ng (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the University of California, Davis (“UCD”) and four (4) university officials (collectively “Defendants”) complaining that Defendants deprived them of their opportunity to participate in varsity athletics at UCD and setting forth a civil rights claim under Section 1983. Plaintiffs claim they were wrestlers in high school and were attracted to UCD by the opportunity to participate on the varsity wrestling team. In 2000, all female wrestlers were removed from the varsity wrestling team after UCD employed roster caps,. The wrestling coach removed all female wrestlers from the competitive roster, but allowed them to participate in practice. Ultimately, in 2001, Plaintiffs were returned to the competitive roster and allowed to participate in practice and compete in open meets.
Plaintiffs argued that UCD had a history of discriminating against female students and from 1995-2005 UCD failed to meet gender equity requirements by in excess of one hundred (100) participation opportunities. Indeed, the Plaintiffs introduced evidence to show that UCD officials were aware of the discrepancy, but chose not to introduce new female sports despite multiple applications to do so.
Defendants filed multiple motions for summary judgment that were granted in part and denied in part. The District Court ruled as follows: 1) Plaintiffs’ Section 1983 claims based upon their removal from the varsity wrestling program and UCD’s creation of barriers for participation in the wrestling program are time barred for failure to file suit within one (1) year of the alleged actions; 2) Plaintiffs timely filed suit based on violations of the Equal Protection clause; 3) Plaintiffs raised triable issues of fact that Defendants participated in the constitutional deprivation of Plaintiffs’ equal rights and Defendants showed callous indifference to the rights of Plaintiffs as female student-athletes; and 4) Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity.