Thursday, August 23, 2007

Snead State College Named in Title IX Suit

Disappointed former softball players have sued Snead State Community College (Boaz, Alabama) over its decision to eliminate the women's softball team and introduce women's volleyball.

According to EADA data, there's an 11 point difference in the percentage of female students and the percentage of female athletes, so the school cannot rely on prong one to demonstrate compliance with Title IX, even counting the added opportunities for female volleyball players. The plaintiffs argue that the school does not have a history of continuing to expand athletic opportunities for women, the standard for compliance with prong two. If this is true -- which it well might be, as the plans to add volleyball will not alone establish a history of continued expansion -- the plaintiffs have a strong argument that the college does not comply with prong three, the only available remaining compliance option. Prong three requires schools to accommodate the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex. Courts have held that this prong cannot be satisfied when a school terminates a viable team, one with a sufficient number of able and interested participants and a likelihood of finding competition.

According to the roster, last year's team had a roster of 20 players, which, incidentally, consisted entirely of freshman and sophomores, players likely to return. They also played a full schedule and had a decent record. From what I could tell, this seems to be a viable team. I think the plaintiffs could convince a court to at least issue a preliminary injunction to keep the college from terminating this year's season.

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