Arguments heard in sports litigation case Tuesday
Published 1:02 am Wednesday, March 15, 2006
CINCINNATI - The oral arguments in the Michigan High School Athletic Association gender equity suit were heard Tuesday by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of apeals.
A three-member panel heard the arguments in the sports litigation case.
Communities for Equity filed and won a suit against the MHSAA back in December of 2001.
The MHSAA appealed the case, which was turned down by the same three-member panel in 2004.
The state athletic association again appealed, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent the case back to the Circuit Court in Cincinnati last year.
The suit, which was originally filed in 1998, claims that the state discriminates against female athletes because they hold sports seasons that are not aligned with other states, thus hurting their chances to receive college scholarships.
The MHSAA contends that the decision was made on “good faith” and was based on the recommendations of coaches.
The state claimed on Tuesday that most of the schools in the state only had one gym and that playing the same sports in the same season would create real issues in those districts when it came to practice times.
The Communities for Equity group countered that they only have to show that there was intent to treat boys and girls differently, not an evil intent.
The MHSAA contends that their system maximizes the opportunities for those to participate.
Michigan currently plays volleyball in the winter and girls' basketball in the fall.
Every state, with the exception of Alaka, has girls' basketball in the winter along with boys' basketball and volleyball in the fall.
The original date for the oral aurguments was scheduled for Feb. 2, however, the MHSAA was notified back in January that the date would be rescheduled for March 14.
If the state loses its appeal, the MHSAA plans on switching boys and girls golf seasons, along with girls basketball and volleyball seasons.