If sports schedules make it harder for girls than boys to be refreshed the next day for school, they violate federal law, the United States Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
Half of girls games in Franklin County, Indiana “have been relegated to non-primetime nights (generally Monday through Thursday) to give preference to the boys’ Friday and Saturday night games,” wrote Judge John Daniel Tinder. “Non-primetime games result in a loss of audience, conflict with homework, and foster feelings of inferiority.”
The ruling applies to California schools unless overruled by the United States Supreme Court.
According to court documents, suits against the schools were brought my parents of girls who played high school basketball at various times between 2007 and 2010.
“The girls’ basketball season starts two weeks before the boys’ and during this time, the girls’ games are scheduled for primetime nights,” the judge wrote. “When the boys’ basketball season starts two weeks later, the girls are relegated to playing most of their games on week nights.”
“At those games,” the judge continued, “the atmosphere is dramatically different. The girls lose the larger Friday night audience, pep band, cheerleaders, and dance team. The bleachers are nearly deserted; there is a lack of student and community support. The girls struggle to complete their homework and study for tests, and the scheduling policy affected (one girl’s) grades during the season. (She) also attested that the defendants’ practice of placing girls’ games disproportionately in non-primetime slots made her feel like girls’ accomplishments are less important than boys.'”
The schedules violate the terms of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which, the judge wrote, “not only requires schools to establish athletic programs for female athletes, but also prohibits schools from discriminating against females participating in those programs by denying equivalence in benefits, such as equipment, facilities, coaching, scheduling and publicity.”
Tinder was appointed to a district court in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and to the appeals court in 2007 by President George W. Bush.
The ruling was announced Thursday by the National School Boards Association on its Twitter account.
For more information about local schools, visit:
Merced Union High School District
Merced County Office of Education
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