GMA: Stripper Athlete Kicked Off Team

A southern California college student says her part-time job as a stripper paid her school bills, but when her track coach found out about it, she was asked to either quit stripping or leave the team.

Though she chose stripping, 21-year-old Leilani Rios said she wants to run track again.

The college sophomore says track kept her out of trouble when she was growing up and it also inspired her to become the first person in her family to go to college.

Rios tells ABCNEWS' Good Morning America that she had to keep her job as an exotic dancer in order to pay for her education.

"Because, since I work, it pays for my school," says Rios, "therefore school is more important and me doing sports … it's not paying for it."

The student says she was abruptly kicked off the track team at Cal State Fullerton in January 2000 when the coach found out what she was working as an exotic dancer at an all-nude strip club in Anaheim three nights a week.

She says the coach, John Elders, gave her an ultimatum: quit her night job or quit running track for the school.

A Cal State Fullerton spokesman says the university supports the coach's decision.

"It's a privilege, not a right, to be on a team, and they don't want to project an image that's detrimental to the team, the coach, the program, and he thought that was a negative image," the spokesman told KABC-TV.

Rios says she doesn't understand how the university came to the decision to cut her based on her after-school job.

"When I work, I don't represent Cal State Fullerton, I don't talk about Cal State Fullerton, and I also don't wear anything associated with it," said Rios. "Therefore I think it's totally different."

The university says school athletes are held to a higher standard of conduct.

But Rios says this is a double standard. The coach found out about Rios' secret career from Fullerton baseball players who visited the club, and those male athletes were not disciplined.

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