South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley

(Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)

Mizzou Settles Defamation Lawsuit, Claiming South Carolina Coach Promoted Racist Comments

The lawsuit was filed in February, seeking $75,000 in damages and Sterk was fined $25,000 by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.

May 24, 2018 - 6:10 pm
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Columbia, Mo. (KMOX) – The University of Missouri has settled a lawsuit brought against its Director of Athletics, Jim Sterk, by South Carolina Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley for $50,000. One half of the settlement will be paid to Staley’s non-profit foundation, INNERSOLE, and the other half of the settlement to her attorneys.

“Following a very spirited and intense game I attended in late January between the nationally ranked Missouri and South Carolina women’s basketball teams, I made comments in a local radio interview that were construed to suggest that Coach Staley promoted the negative experiences of racial epithets and spitting,” Sterk said. “I do not believe Coach Staley would promote such conduct, and I sincerely apologize to her for those comments."

After a game between the Tigers and Gamecocks on Jan. 28, Sterk accused South Carolina fans of spitting on Mizzou players and calling them the "N" word. Similar complaints were shared on social media and Mizzou coach Robin Pingeton talked about it in a news conference after the game. The lawsuit was filed in February, seeking $75,000 in damages and Sterk was fined $25,000 by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.

“I accept his apology and I appreciate the contribution of $25,000 to INNERSOLE, a not for profit organization I co-founded that provides new sneakers to children who are homeless or in need,” Staley said. “I’m glad we can share in support of this worthy cause and I look forward to moving past this with a continued spirited but positive competition amongst our programs.”  

In accordance with University policy, the lawsuit settlement will be paid by the University since Sterk made his comments in good faith while performing his duties as a University employee.