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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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