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Judge: Girls' basketball games schedule not discriminatory

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A federal judge has ruled that 14 school corporations haven’t discriminated against girls’ basketball teams by scheduling more of their games on weeknights instead of weekends as compared to boys’ basketball games.

Amber Parker, the former girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County High School, filed the suit on behalf of her daughter, who played on the team, accusing the Indiana High School Athletic Association and 14 school districts in western and southwestern Indiana of discriminating against girls’ high school basketball programs. After Parker and her family moved out of state this year, Tammy Hurley and her daughter C.H., also a player, were added to the suit in July.

The plaintiffs claimed in Amber Parker, et al. v. Indiana High School Athletic Association, et al., No. 1:09-CV-885, that the IHSAA and the school districts 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, which are typically weeknights. The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana had previously dismissed the Title IX claim against the IHSAA, and granted the school districts' partial motion for summary judgment on the Section 1983 claims on Sept. 27, 2010. In an opinion released Wednesday, 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 plaintiffs asserted an equal treatment claim against the school districts based on the scheduling of boys’ and girls’ basketball games, but the 1979 Policy Interpretation of Title IX doesn’t require identical scheduling for boys’ and girls’ sports. Their scheduling doesn’t deprive the girls’ team of role models, inhibit their skills development, or prevent team building.

“In short, the disparity in treatment in this case simply does not rise to the level seen in either Communities for Equity [v. Michigan High School Athletic Ass’n, 178 F.Supp 2d. 805 (W.D. Mich. 2001),] or McCormick [v. Sch. Dist. of Mamaroneck, 370 F.3d 275, 288 (2d Cir. 2004)]. The School Defendants’ treatment of the Plaintiffs does not result in a disparity that is so substantial that it denies the Plaintiffs equality of athletic opportunity,” wrote the judge.

Judge Lawrence noted the novel theory the plaintiffs used to try to hold the IHSAA liable for its “deliberate indifference to gender-based discrimination” even though the IHSAA isn’t responsible for the schedules. The plaintiffs argued the IHSAA turned a blind eye to the discriminatory scheduling, and by not mandating gender equality, the organization facilitated the gender-based discrimination.

“The problem with the Plaintiffs’ argument is that despite their rhetoric, they have not cited a single federal case that supports using a deliberate indifference theory to hold the IHSAA liable in this situation,” he wrote. “Just because the Plaintiffs have allegedly suffered an injury does not mean that they can hold the IHSAA liable.”

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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