From court to courthouse, basketball coach says lawsuit is pending

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By Daesha Gear

This story is a continuation of recent Title IX allegations.

The fight for equality continues for the Riverside City College women’s basketball team after making a statement at its final home game on Feb. 24.

Alicia Berber, RCC’s women’s basketball coach, declined to further comment on any Title IX updates due to the privacy of and sensitivity surrounding the players.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) ensures students’ privacy and prohibits non-disclosable information from being shared to mass audiences.

The coach, however, stated there are student complaints and the inequalities the women allege is more than just the weight room — it is a “documented fact.”

“Those are the questions that I can’t answer because it is a sensitive topic,” Berber said. “There is a lawsuit. There are student complaints. I just want to leave it alone at this time and keep it professional.”

One occurrence of inequality Berber claimed involved a male athlete removing equipment from the weight room while her team was training.

Berber stated she felt it was disrespectful but did not want to specify the male athlete’s identity.

“You’re in the weight room, you’re working out, and somebody just starts pulling bars, weights and everything,” she said. “If it gets any worse than that, then I don’t know what more (of) a disrespectful example you can get. This is a kinesiology class that has a scheduled time.”

This incident was brought forward to Payton Williams, RCC’s athletic director, who addressed the conflict immediately.

Space is limited within the weight room, according to the athletic director. He, however, will continue to emphasize that those seeking to train in the area will have to wait until their scheduled time.

Williams could not further comment on the women’s basketball team’s hours.

“When it comes to the weight room itself, I don’t handle the scheduling,” he said. “But I tried to make sure that people who would have better connections to (scheduling) or would know how to get better connections to that were aware of the situation.”

Access to the weight room is class-driven and is determined through the kinesiology department, according to Williams.

Steve Sigloch, RCC’s kinesiology chair, declined to comment on Berber or her team due to an unspecified ongoing litigation.

The women’s basketball team alleged it experienced another form of inequality at the RCC men’s basketball playoff game against Copper Mountain March 3.

The game was held in RCC’s gymnasium, but Berber and her players had to pay admission to see their counterparts in the same building where they practice and have games.

The incident did not sit well with the team, and the players turned to social media to voice their displeasure, according to Berber.

There was an error in communication between the state policy for playoff games for those who have unique passes, according to Williams.

According to the California Community College Athletic Association’s (CCCAA) 2021-2022 Constitution and Bylaws, coaches who have up-to-date memberships with the association are honored with complimentary passes for playoff games.

 Williams claims the issue was resolved and assured it “won’t happen again.”

“The mere fact of asking them to pay when they’re already in the gym, (and) sending them to the door to pay is enough to make me want to throw up,” Berber said. “I don’t care if it was a mistake. I’m tired of the mistakes. Enough is enough.”

RCC President Gregory Anderson and others are in communication with Berber and her team regarding issues surrounding inequality.
“It is the commitment of the entire college leadership and the district leadership to use resources in such a way they are addressing concerns as they arise,” Anderson said. “We’ll spend money or put people in place — we’ll do what it takes to make sure that we are upholding the mission of the college to deliver.”

Vice president of Student Services and Academic Affairs, FeRita Carter, says an official Title IX complaint has not been filed or made known to the college. 

Lorraine Jones, RCC’s Title IX coordinator, has not responded to requests for comment on the situation.

The president and others plan to meet with the women’s basketball team in the near future to continue listening and addressing further concerns.

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