Former basketball coach Beth Burns suing San Diego State for wrongful termination

Complaint claims inequities between programs

SAN DIEGO - Former San Diego State Aztecs women's basketball coach Beth Burns is suing the school, claiming the school wrongfully terminated her.

During a February 2013 game, video footage showed Burns slapping a clipboard held by an assistant and elbowing him.

A claim obtained by 10News read, "[T]he sole reason for SDSU's decision to terminate her was because Coach Burns had allegedly struck a subordinate."

The document claims SDSU officials said they forced Burns to retire over the incident.

10News showed the lawsuit to attorney Dan Gilleon, who is not involved in the case. He said, "I can tell you, looking at that videotape, it doesn't look like something you'd be fired over."

Read the lawsuit:

Burns' attorneys argue she was actually fired for complaining about the inequalities between her team and the bigger mens' programs.

"[S]he had to fight a dysfunctional athletics administration that prioritized men's sports over women's basketball," said the lawsuit.

Gilleon called it a pretext.

"Are they just making up some reason for termination when in reality why they're firing her is because she's protesting?" he asked.

The lawsuit also claims the school ignored a physical confrontation in 2002 between then-football coach Tom Craft and one of his players.

"Craft had slapped a freshman football player across the face in front of his teammates," the lawsuit stated.

Craft wasn't fired for another three years based on the performance of his teams.

"If she has the evidence to back this up, it can be a devastating case for SDSU," said Gilleon.

The school issued a brief statement regarding the lawsuit:

"The University is proud of its gender equity record and support of Title IX and Cal NOW regulations."

Burns is seeking to recover the balance of her contract, which stood at roughly $880,000 and damages.  

The lawsuit said she hasn't been able to find work since she was terminated.

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