At a North Dakota College of Sciences football game over labor-day weekend, Jamie Kuntz, age 18, was disciplined for kissing a man, age 65.
After being questioned about the incident, Jamie Kuntz replied that he had only kissed his grandfather. After feeling remorse for lying, however, freshmen Jamie Kuntz explained to football coach Chuck Parsons that he did in fact kiss another man. Subsequently, Jamie Kuntz received a dismissal letter explaining that he was being kicked off the football team under a category in the team’s player’s manual entitled “conduct deemed detrimental to the team.” In the dismissal letter Coach Parsons explained that Mr. Kuntz was being dismissed from the team on the basis of his dishonesty.
Despite being expelled from the football team for lying, Jamie Kuntz explains that he believes he was ousted from the team on the basis of his homosexuality. Mr. Kuntz stated “‘I know if it was a girl in the press box, or even an older woman, nothing would have happened…If it was an older woman, I would have probably been congratulated for it from my teammates.’” Following Mr. Kuntz’ dismissal from the football team, he decided to leave the college because, as he puts it, “‘Football didn’t work out, so there was no reason to stay.’”
Jamie Kuntz’ dismissal from North Dakota College of Science’s football team forces us to consider where same-sex couples are permitted. Currently, same-sex couples are permitted to marry in six states including New York. In addition, employers including Anheuser-Busch, Apple Computer, Nike, Gap, and Best Buy are offering health care coverage to their employees’ domestic partners. Same-sex couples, though, are still not accepted on the football field.
If your institution has any further questions or concerns about sexual discrimination in higher education, or education law related matters, please email Cynthia Augello at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (516) 357 – 3753.
A special thanks to Laura DeLuca, a law clerk at Cullen and Dykman LLP, for help with this post.