South Carolina State women's basketball coach Audra Smith fired day after filing suit

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina State women's basketball coach Audra Smith was fired Thursday, a day after she sued the school in federal court alleging Title IX violations and discriminatory practices at the university.

Smith had led the women's team the past four seasons when she was dismissed. She filed a suit asking for a response to a Freedom of Information Act request in January seeking documentation that South Carolina State gave more resources to male athletes, coaches and teams than to its women's programs, players and coaches.

Smith alleges she was paid almost $30,000 less than the South Carolina State's men's basketball coach when she was hired. Throughout her tenure, Smith said she was provided fewer resources than the men's program at the historically Black college.

Visiting men's teams changed in the women's locker room, the suit said, while opponents for women's games were not permitted to use the men's locker room at the arena.

Smith said in the suit she was given a three-game suspension earlier this month when she was asked by a school representative to have parents of one of her players -- who were on hand for their daughter's senior night -- moved from court level to their assigned seats.

Smith said in the suit she believed that suspension was issued because of her inquiries in the school's practices.

Smith's attorney, Samantha Albrecht, said Friday the suit looks to improve the treatment of women athletes and coaches at South Carolina State along with the goal "to remedy professional wrongs done to our named client for years of being disadvantaged by systemic sex-based discrimination."

On Thursday, the school fired Smith, who had another year on her contract. Smith was 24-73 in four seasons and a 4-21 record this year.

"We would like to thank Coach Smith for her dedication to our student-athletes and for the hard work she as committed to the women's basketball program," athletic director Stacy Danley said in a statement on Thursday.

University spokesman Sam Watson said in an email to The Associated Press the school "cannot comment on pending or current litigation."

Another of Smith's attorneys, Paul Porter, said the dismissal was "unlawful, retaliatory, and it invites more legal action."

The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of money damages.

Smith has been a head coach for 18 seasons, spending nine years at UAB and five seasons at Clemson before taking over the Bulldogs' program.