By the 2016-2017 school year, boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball games at one high school will be equally scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights, according to a consent decree entered Monday in federal court. The agreement comes after a lawsuit challenged that girls’ games are typically scheduled on school nights or other non-preferred times.
Amber Parker, the former varsity girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County High School, sued school corporations located in western and southwestern Indiana and the Indiana High School Athletic Association claiming the practice of holding boys’ games primarily on weekends and girls’ games primarily on weeknights was discriminatory. Parker’s daughter played on the Franklin team.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in February vacated summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the Title IX and equal protection claims and remanded for further proceedings. The federal court found the girls’ schedule was not discriminatory.
The agreement filed Monday settles Parker’s suit. It lays out how the defendant schools will gradually increase the number of Franklin County girls’ varsity games played in “prime time” – Friday and Saturday – until parity is reached in the 2016-2017 school year. The agreement includes a “safe harbor” for defendants of not more than a two-game differential during prime time.
It also lays out when Saturday afternoon games may be scheduled.
The decree remains in effect through the 2016-2017 school year, unless the plaintiffs agree to dissolve it sooner based on reporting and record-keeping goals.
The decree doesn’t constitute an admission by the defendants or any related entity that they engaged in any unlawful acts as outlined by the lawsuit, the decree says.
“Further, Defendants vigorously contest liability and are entering into this Decree solely for the purpose of avoiding additional costs of litigation,” it reads.