Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Haven't we heard this story already?

Another lawsuit is pending against the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) because of its rule prohibiting girls from trying out for baseball when there is a softball team.
Another lawsuit? Indeed. As you might recall, last year a different Indiana high school student sued IHSAA for the chance to try out. And IHSAA granted a waiver to its rule. At the same I wrote this:
[Though it is curious that Bauduin was granted a waiver. Why didn't IHSAA just abolish the rule once they knew it was discriminatory?]
Seems that what was in the brackets was important. Because IHSAA has said it would be just fine with granting another waiver, this time to Logan Young.
But Public Justice, which was involved in the last case, is focused on eradicating the rule.
It's a good move. Even if there wasn't going to be a fight over Logan Young's tryout, the fact that the rule still exists means there is more effort that a female student must go through to try out. Why does every girl who wants to play baseball have to engage in a battle with IHSAA? Why do they have to ask for a waiver? Essentially IHSAA is creating a different standard for participation. It is setting up a hurdle for girls that boys do not have to jump over in order to play. It is implying that it is natural for boys to want to play baseball, but not girls. It is making every girl who wants to play, ask for permission.
Last time around it was made pretty clear that the argument that baseball and softball are similar enough sports is just not good enough--heck, it's just plain not good. The existence of the rule continues to perpetuate the belief that any girl who wants to play baseball should be just as satisfied with softball because they are virtually the same. No one is benefiting from this false comparison anymore (not that they ever did). Just ask the International Softball Federation which is trying desperately to get its sport back into the Olympic Games by, in part, separating itself from baseball.