Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk apologized Thursday to South Carolina Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley and will pay her a sum of $50,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by the Staley.
Sterk made comments to KTGR radio in Columbia, MO that the environment during Missouri’s January 28th game against South Carolina was “unhealthy” and that Staley “promoted that type of atmosphere”. The USC Coach filed a lawsuit in February seeking $75,000, saying that Sterk made “patently false allegations” with his comments.
The SEC fined Sterk $25,000 for his comments shortly after the lawsuit was made public, saying he violated Conference bylaws.
In a statement provided by Mizzou Athletics, Sterk said the following:
“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, I do not believe Coach Staley would promote such conduct, and I sincerely apologize to her for those comments.”
Staley, responded with her own statement, saying she will contribute half of the settlement sum to her charity, INNERSOLE, which supplies new sneakers for children who can’t afford them.
The statement also said the University of Missouri will cover the cost of the settlement, “Since Sterk made his comments in good faith while performing his duties as a University employee.”