HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that UConn did nothing wrong when it took away the scholarship of a soccer player who gave the middle finger to a television camera.
Noriana Radwan, who eventually transferred to Hofstra, had argued that her punishment for the November 2014 incident was excessive and not in line with discipline meted out to male athletes who violated school policies.
Radwan made the obscene gesture to an ESPNU camera while celebrating with teammates after the Huskies beat South Florida 3-2 on penalty kicks in the 2014 American Athletic Conference championship game.
Coach Len Tsantiris initially suspended Radwan from the 2014 NCAA Tournament and issued a statement apologizing to the conference, South Florida and those who watched the game on television.
In her federal lawsuit, Radwan alleged that after the publicity died down, she was stripped of her scholarship midway through the school year without due process for what the coach described as “serious misconduct.”
Her attorney argued that while Radwan’s offense was regrettable, it did not rise to the level of “serious misconduct.” He also argued that the punishment was much harsher than what male athletes at the school had received for more serious offenses, including arrests.
U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden, in a decision released Monday, agreed with UConn’s argument that Radwan’s offense was not similar to the male athlete’s violations, in part because she was the only athlete to make an obscene gesture on national television at a school event.
Greg Tarone, Radwan’s attorney, said he has explained the ruling to his client, but declined to comment further.