Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Private School League Benches Female Kicker

Via New Moon Girls blog, I found this story from about Kacy Stuart, a female freshman at New Creation Center, a private high school near Atlanta, who was recently dismissed from her position as kicker for the school's football team, after a ruling by the private school conference to which New Creation belongs.

The article points out that Kacy had no trouble playing football when she attended public middle school, but it is wrong (sorry, NMG blog!) to credit Title IX for Kacy's public school football career. Since football is a contact sport, Title IX does not require schools to allow girls to try out. Rather, it is the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause that has in many cases required schools and other public entities to give girls equal access to football and other contact sports. But the trouble for Kacy is that the Equal Protection Clause does not govern private schools, so the Georgia Football League can discriminate all it wants.

This case is a good example of why Title IX's contact sports exemption is harmful and should be repealed. When it comes to private schools -- at least, those private schools that accept federal funds in some form, as many do -- Title IX is the only source of federal law that prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of sex. Thus, the statute should be comprehensive in its coverage of sports, and not exempt football due to some outdated, essentialist idea that it is categorically inappropriate for girls.