Tuesday, July 07, 2009

FHSAA seeks dismissal

In the "you've got to be kidding me" moment of the week (of course, it's only Tuesday, and things can change quickly in Title IX land--especially when it comes to litigation) the Florida High School Athletic Association has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit brought against it by Florida Parents for Athletic Equity for inequitable cuts to game schedules. The rationale: football is a co-ed sport so the cuts will affect boys and girls equitably.
At least three girls in the state of Florida play high school football. So, sure, that's equitable.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who is representing FPAE, noted that people have been trying to exempt football from Title IX regulations since Title IX was first passed--and they have been unsuccessful. But this is a new one. After all, most of the fights are to keep girls out of football. In fact much of the work in maintaining male dominance in sport and beyond relies on the absence of girls and women from football.
I could applaud FHSAA for attempting to alter this paradigm but I think this maneuver is more about self-protection than bringing down the patriarchy.
Besides the fact that, as Hogshead-Makar notes, Title IX does not mandate co-ed football teams (because of the contact sport exemption), the theory and the practice are quite different here. We don't even have to talk intended effects here--exempting football will have the actual effect of disproportionately affecting the opportunities girls get for competition.
The judge is set to rule on the motion July 17--two days after FHSAA has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the lawsuit and injunction.