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7th Circuit takes girls' basketball schedule case

March 11, 2011

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether several Indiana school corporations discriminate against girls’ basketball teams by scheduling more of their games on weeknights as compared to the boys’ basketball games.

Amber Parker, former girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County High School, and Tammy Hurley, a parent of a girls’ basketball player, filed separate suits against the Indiana High School Athletic Association and 14 school corporations in western and southwestern Indiana claiming the organizations violated Title IX and the 14th Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 by scheduling the girls’ games on non-preferred dates and times. Parker and Hurley are suing on behalf of their daughters.

In Parker’s suit, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana dismissed the Title IX claim against the IHSAA, and granted the school districts' partial motion for summary judgment on the Section 1983 claims in September 2010. In October, U.S. District Judge William Lawrence granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the remaining claims – the Title IX claim against the school districts and the Section 1983 claim against the IHSAA.

The two cases were combined on appeal into Amber Parker, et al., v. Indiana High School Athletic Association, No. 10-3595. On Feb. 28, the 7th Circuit dismissed the IHSAA from the suit following a motion by the appellants to voluntarily dismiss the organization.  

The parents argue, among other things, that the District Court erred in ignoring the harms that the girls suffer from being regulated to weeknight games, that the scheduling of the girls’ games violates Title IX, and the defendants are political subdivisions, not arms of the state that are entitled to 11th Amendment immunity.

Several organizations have signed on as amicus parties to the case, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, California Women’s Law Center, and the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.   

The appellants filed their brief in late January and the school corporations were granted an extension to file their brief, which is now due March 25. Appellants’ reply brief, if any, is due April 8.

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