Thursday, October 15, 2009

Settlement Ends Title IX Suit Against FHSAA

The controversy in Florida that resulted when the state's athletic association that proposed a cost-saving schedule reduction for every sport except football and cheer was largely resolved over the summer, when the FHSAA rescinded the proposal in response to a lawsuit. Parents had sued the FSHAA arguing that that the proposal violated Title IX because it disproportionately affected girls' athletic opportunities. Exempting cheerleading along with football did not ensure that the cuts would equally affect girls' and boys' athletic opportunities, they argued, because even putting aside the issue of whether cheerleading counts as an athletic opportunity, football offers far more more athletic opportunities to boys than cheerleading does for girls.

After the proposal was rescinded, the parents continued to press the court for an injunction that would prevent FHSAA from making a similar decision again in the future. Yesterday, however, the plaintiffs announced that they would drop that lawsuit as part of a settlement under which FHSAA agreed to give advance notice to the plaintiffs' attorney, Professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar of Florida Coastal School of Law, before attempting to reinstate any of the rescinded the policy. FHSAA also agreed to pay the plaintiffs' attorneys fees and to conduct Title IX training for its members.