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Court rules in favor of University of Montana in Shannon Schweyen lawsuit

Shannon Schweyen
Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 31, 2023

MISSOULA — A judge has ruled in favor of the University of Montana regarding a lawsuit by former Montana Lady Griz head coach Shannon Schweyen.

Schweyen, a standout player for the Lady Griz turned long-time assistant coach — and eventual head coach of the program — was suing the university after her dismissal as head coach in 2020 for alleged sex discrimination.

MTN obtained court documents on Tuesday that state, "Based on the undisputed evidence in the record, a reasonable jury could not conclude by a preponderance of the evidence that the University terminated Schweyen’s employment because of her gender."

The document is signed by District Judge Dana L. Christensen.

Dave Kuntz, a spokesman for the university, told MTN in a statement, “The university is pleased with the court’s decision. The university’s intent has always been to act in the best interests of its student-athletes and the Lady Griz program. The court’s judgment validates the university’s decision to allow Ms. Schweyen’s contract to expire in 2020 and confirms that the university acted in compliance with applicable law and its own anti-discrimination policies and practices. We wish Ms. Schweyen well in her new endeavors and thank all supporters of UM Athletics and the Lady Griz.”

MTN reached out to Schweyen's attorneys for comment after this ruling. Linda M. Correia of Correia & Puth in Washington, D.C., responded with the following statement.

"We are disappointed that the court disregarded evidence that the University of Montana discriminated against Shannon Schweyen based on her sex, including evidence that it penalized her when players entered the transfer portal, but did not even question male coaches when their players entered the transfer portal in much larger numbers," Correia wrote. "This and other evidence should be heard by a jury in Missoula. We are reviewing the decision and considering next steps."

Schweyen, who was hired as head coach in 2016, went 52-69 overall as head coach at UM and 34-42 in Big Sky Conference games. Under Schweyen, the Lady Griz were 1-4 at the Big Sky tournament.

Schweyen initially filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Nov. 11, 2021. The case is not fully closed yet, as Schweyen can appeal to a higher court if she chooses to appeal the court's decision.

To see the full legal document, click here.