April 24, 2013
In 1998, Communities for Equality (CFE) filed a lawsuit against the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) citing that they were not in compliance with Title IX and there was not equity between boys and girls sports in High School. Over nine years later in 2007, CFE had won their lawsuit, which made it all the way the Supreme Court and the MHSAA was forced to switch the season of the sports and tournament schedules to comply with Title IX and equity in interscholastic sports. The CFE vs. MHSAA ruling has had a negative effect on participation, officiating, and overall interest for the sports involved. Athletic Directors, along with the MHSAA have to find ways to increase interest for the sports. This study follows up with both positive and negative results of the ruling from various school athletic directors, high school coaches, college coaches and representatives from the MHSAA on a variety of issues that are involved with interscholastic sports. Possible solutions to the main concerns are answered in the conclusion of the study.
Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 is a federal law that does not allow discrimination of sex in any federally funded educational program. This includes all co-curricular activities, even though it is never stated in the law. The law states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (Title IX, Education Amendments, 1972). In 1998, Diane Madsen and Jay Roberts Eveland partnered with the Communities for Equity (CFE) and started by writing letters to elected legislators about how the MHSAA, particularly were in violation of Title IX. The Plaintiff went to court to force the MHSAA to comply with Title IX and equity for all sports. The main issues included: • Less number of sports seasons offered for girls • Seasons not aligned with the rest of the states and colleges • Equity of marketing and tournament facilities
The MHSAA settled out of court on most items in the lawsuit including spending the same amount of money on advertising, spending the same money on tournament facilities and increasing the amount of girls sports offered. The only remaining item in the lawsuit that the MHSAA did not change was the schedule of the seasons. The different courts ruled for the CFE and the MHSAA would appeal to a higher court, making it all the way to the Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by the U.S. District Court in Kalamazoo on April 2, 2007. This decision forced the MHSAA to changes the season to eight sports for participating schools. The MHSAA changed six of the sports in the Lower Peninsula and two of the sports in the Upper Peninsula (Communities for Equity v. Michigan High School Athletic Association, 2004). Sports Seasons Schedule Change
The MHSAA changed eight sports seasons at the start of the 2007-2008 school year. The table below lists the sports that were changed (Eggert, 2007).
|Sport |Previous Season |New Season | |Girls’ Basketball |Fall |Winter | |Girls’ Volleyball |Winter |Fall | |Girls’ Golf |Spring |Fall | |Girls’ Tennis |Fall |Spring | |Boys’ Golf |Fall |Spring | |Boys’...