Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Indiana Girls May Try Out for Baseball

Earlier this month, the Indiana High School Athletic Association voted unanimously to make permanent its executive board's emergency ruling (see also here) issued in February that would allow girls to try out for baseball, even if they attend schools that offer opportunities in softball. As we've noted in prior posts, the decision was reached after a 14-year-old girl named Logan Young filed suit in federal court after she was barred by IHSAA's prior rules from trying out for her school's baseball team. Young, represented by Public Justice* and Philadelphia law firm Hangley, Aronchick, Segal & Pudlin** argued that baseball and softball are not "comparable sports" as they require different fields, different equipment, and have different rules and strategies. Now that the IHSAA has changed the baseball rule, however, Young has dropped her lawsuit.

But according to Young's lawyers, the IHSAA's remaining restrictions on girls' participation on boys teams continue to violate Title IX. Specifically, Title IX regulations require schools to allow girls to try out for boys teams in non-contact sports -- such as cross country, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field -- when there is no girls' team offered in that sport. Yet, this is prohibited under IHSAA rules as they currently stand. It will take another Logan Young to come along and pave the way for crossover participation in those sports.

* represented FGCU coaches
** represented Jennifer Harris against Penn State