An Idaho State softball coach is suing the University after she was fired for agreeing to adopt a pregnant player’s baby. Jamie Wiggins, 38, was asked by an unnamed University softball player to adopt her unborn baby after she became pregnant unintentionally. Wiggins is claiming that Idaho State University violated her First Amendment rights.
Pregnant Softball Player Asked Her Coach Jamie Wiggins to Adopt Her Unborn Baby
New York Gazette ™ Assistant coach sues college, claims she was fired for offering to adopt player’s baby that later died: https://t.co/NSuTjVFTWD – Former Idaho State softball coach Jamie Wiggins files First… https://t.co/n2XX0pFjec #wealthmanagement #charteredwealthmanager pic.twitter.com/2ySUZUNG1w— George Mentz JD MBA CWM (@GeorgeMentz) December 9, 2022
According to East Idaho News, Jamie Wiggins approached the pregnant softball player on May 1. She did so after hearing a rumor that the student was pregnant. According to the lawsuit, filed in November, the pregnant woman initially denied that she was pregnant. However, on May 10, she approached coach Wiggins and admitted she needed help. She asked Wiggins and her husband if they’d be willing to adopt the unborn baby.
The baby was born prematurely and kept in the hospital until it sadly passed away in July. However, after the child’s birth, coach Wiggins says the ISU athletic department administrator that she intended to adopt. She says that she was not advised to change her plan.
Instead, Wiggins claims she received a call from ISU Athletic Director Pauline Thiros, who discussed the plan to adopt. After the phone call, Wiggins was requested to attend a meeting with Thiros and another ISU employee.
Wiggins was initially hired to ISU in July of 2021 for a 10-month-long contractual obligation. She claims that Thiros specifically sought permission to fire her over the intention to adopt the baby. Thiros eventually gained approval from University President Kevin Satterlee. Thiros allegedly informed Wiggins that she was not going to extend her coaching contract.
Wiggins Family Cites Christian Faith in Choice to Adopt
Jamie Wiggins and her husband Greg are claiming that they had intended to adopt the baby because of the Christian faith. Because the University of Idaho retaliated against Wiggins for her religious choices, she is saying the University violated her rights. Additionally, the firing occurred after she simply informed staff of an intention to adopt.
“The decision of plaintiff and her husband Greg Wiggins to offer to adopt the baby was an exercise of their Christian faith,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff’s religious beliefs dictate the care of orphans in their distress when called upon, with a recognition of harsh consequences for not doing so.”
The lawsuit additionally claims Wiggins’ right to freely exercise her religion. It also states that her rights as a public employee were violated. Thiros, Satterlee, and the University of Idaho are defendants in the lawsuit. An initial hearing date has not yet been set.
ISU issued a statement to East Idaho News.
“Given the context and facts of this situation and the university’s duty to intervene in actual or perceived conflicts of interest between students and authority figures, when the plaintiff’s contract expired, the university chose not to renew the plaintiff’s one-year contract for another year,” ISU stated.
“The university always has the best interests of the student as its sole motivation. Any allegation that the university’s actions were motivated by other reasons is patently false. The university stands by its decision and plans to vigorously defend against this litigation.”