UConn has settled a lawsuit filed by a former women’s soccer player who lost her scholarship for pointing her middle finger at a television camera as the Huskies celebrated winning a conference championship in 2014.
The former student athlete, Noriana Radwan, alleged that the gesture amounted to free speech and that she was subjected to harsher punishment than male athletes who violated the school’s rules of conduct.
Under the terms of the agreement revealed in court on Wednesday, Radwan will receive just over $46,000 to cover the cost of his student debt at Hofstra, where he transferred after losing his scholarship. Her lawyers will receive $162,500, according to the agreement.
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The school also agreed to revise its student-athlete handbook to clarify how long athletes have to appeal the loss of a scholarship.
“One of the problems in this case is that there was ambiguity as to when he exercised his right to a hearing and UConn claimed he missed the deadline by one day,” said Jonathan Klein, Radwan’s attorney.
Radwan raised his middle finger at an ESPNU camera as he celebrated with his teammates after the Huskies beat South Florida 3-2 on penalty kicks in the 2014 American Athletic Conference championship game.
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The school’s coach 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 lawsuit, which was filed in 2016, Radwan alleged that after the publicity died down, she was stripped of her scholarship in the middle of the school year without due process for what the coach described as «serious misconduct.» She eventually transferred to Hofstra.
Radwan, a midfielder, played in nine games in his only season playing for the Huskies. She didn’t have a goal.
The case was originally dismissed by federal court in 2020 before being partially reinstated on appeal.
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The settlement was finalized after a hearing on Wednesday to address a dispute between his lawyers over whether one of them had the authority to enter into the settlement agreement without the approval of the other.
Radwan has no comment on the deal, Klein said.
UConn had no immediate comment Thursday.