Friday, February 13, 2009

More on Indiana baseball

As we noted the other day, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has changed its rule barring girls from trying out for baseball when their school offers a softball program--likely because of the legal pressures of Public Justice and the ongoing attention being brought to the association by repeated challenges to the rule.
Here is a link to the AP story.
The association's commissioner, Blake Ress, basically said it was a cost-benefit analysis that resulted in the decision to change the rule (as in it was going to cost a lot to try to win a case there was little chance of winning). But he's not really on board. He still contends that the sports are comparable (and this is from the writer, not a direct quote from Ress) "because each involves a bat and a ball, similar positions and baselines on the diamond, and six outs in an inning." Of course there are different field dimensions, size of balls, pitching styles, and rules--just to name a few differences.

And here is the story of the origins of the IHSAA rule. Pretty interesting that it was established after another female baseball player, Kim Satterly, in 1980 was banned from the team. But she had no softball option because her school, at the time, didn't offer it. The growth of softball in Indiana is actually attributed to the rule. In fact, Satterly had to play softball her senior year when her school did decide to start a team. So growth from fear of female infiltration--a fear that clearly still exists.