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7th Circuit reverses in girls' basketball discrimination complaint

February 1, 2012

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion Tuesday stating it believes the appellants in a discrimination claim have presented a genuine question of fact that merits further review.

In Amber Parker, et. al., v. Franklin Community School Corporation, et. al., No. 10-3595, Amber Parker – a former varsity girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County High School – filed the complaint against 14 Indiana public school corporations. Parker, whose daughter played on the Franklin team, claimed that the practice of holding boys’ games primarily on weekends and girls’ games primarily on weeknights was discriminatory.

During the 2009-2010 season, nearly 95 percent of the Franklin boys’ varsity games were played during “primetime” – nights that do not precede school days. In that same season, only 53 percent of girls’ games occurred during primetime. Parker’s complaint stated that because girls’ teams are relegated to weeknight play, the players have trouble keeping up with homework obligations, are less likely to have fan support, and generally feel that their accomplishments are less important than the boys’ teams.

The 7th Circuit agreed that Parker’s complaint may be actionable under Title IX of the Education Requirements of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Section 1681(a). It therefore vacated the entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants that had been issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. It further vacated the District Court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ equal protection claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, on the basis of sovereign immunity, and remanded for proceedings consistent with its opinion.

 

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