Saturday, March 01, 2008

Indiana girl gets baseball tryout

After being informed of its discriminatory ways, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has waived its rule that states that a girl cannot participate in baseball if the school offers softball. Baseball player Heather Bauduin is the impetus behind the waiver. She and her lawyers from Public Justice and the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin (HASP)* threatened the IHSAA with a lawsuit if it prevented Bauduin from trying out. But in the end there was no need for a lawsuit (good for Bauduin because it allows her to participate this spring). IHSAA was apparently convinced that their rule did indeed violate Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. [Though it is curious that Bauduin was granted a waiver. Why didn't IHSAA just abolish the rule once they knew it was discriminatory?]
This situation will hopefully begin to illustrate to everyone that softball and baseball are different sports. They have always been different. Softball was created to be a lesser version of baseball and though many of us do not view it as such, the nearly unquestioned absence and exclusion of girls (of a certain age) and women from baseball illustrates how "natural" this segregation has been.

* Sharon McKee of HASP was lead counsel on this case. McKee, who we had the pleasure of meeting last year at the Title IX conference in Cleveland, also worked with NCLR on the Jennifer Harris case.