Appeals Court Rules Sports Seasons Discriminate Against Girls
A federal appeals court last Tuesday upheld a previous ruling that the scheduling of Michigan's high school sports seasons discriminates against female athletes. The unanimous ruling of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a 2001 federal district court decision that the current practices of the Michigan High School Athletic Association in scheduling girls’ sports for nontraditional seasons violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution as well as state and federal laws such as Title IX.
While female high school athletes in Michigan currently have non-traditional sports seasons for basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, Lower Peninsula golf, and Lower Peninsula swimming and diving, male high school athletes do not have any sports scheduled for non-traditional seasons. The National Women’s Law Center, which presented the case on behalf of parents of female high school athletes, argued that the non-traditional seasons are disadvantageous for female athletes and result in “limited opportunities for athletic scholarships and opportunities to play college sports; limited opportunities to play in club of Olympic Development Programs; and missed opportunities for awards and recognition, such as All-American teams.”