Scheduling Inequities Violate Title IX, Appellate Court Rules

Flickr User: s_falkow

The Women's Sports Foundation congratulates Coach Amber Parker, formerly of Franklin County, Indiana, and her attorneys, who prevailed in an appellate court decision in a case challenging Franklin and other Indiana high schools' decisions to schedule boys' basketball games more frequently than girls' games on "prime time" Friday nights. In 2009, Parker filed a lawsuit alleging that the disparity of scheduling boys' games for Friday nights nearly all of the time, while scheduling girls' games for Friday nights only about half of the time, violates Title IX, which has been interpreted by Department of Education regulations to require equity in the "scheduling of games and practice times." A lower court had earlier dismissed the suit, but yesterday an appellate court has reversed that decision and reinstated the case.

Citing the Women’s Sports Foundation’s amicus brief, (with 11 other organizations signing on), the appellate court acknowledged that the scheduling disparity was substantial enough to constitute a violation of Title IX.

As our amicus brief argued, parents and community members are less likely to attend weeknight games, which deprives the girls' teams of audience and the support of fans. It also imposes on girls a larger burden that their male counterparts to balance sports with academic work during the week. Moreover, the court acknowledged that the scheduling disparity can harm female athletes in a psychological way because it casts girls' activities as inferior to boys’ activities. This inferior treatment, reasoned the court, contributes to the perception that girls' sports are "second class" and undeserving, a perception that deters girls from participating in sport, "in contravention of the purposes of Title IX." This perception is also transmitted to fans and contributes to their lack of support for girl teams.

This is not the first appellate court decision to conclude that lopsided scheduling violates Title IX. Other courts have found that scheduling girls' sports in the nontraditional season violates the law when it operates to the disadvantage to girls and not boys. Today's important decision expands this precedent to include night-of-the-week scheduling decisions as well, and sends a message to schools and conferences that scheduling is an important component of the equal treatment required by Title IX.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

About the Foundation


U.S. Sends More Females than Males to the Olympic Games For the First Time

The U.S. Olympic committee just released the final roster of the athletes heading to the London Olympic Games in two shorts weeks. It consists of 530 athletes, 269 of which are female and 261 male, meaning that more women will represent our country in the Olympic Games than men for the first time in history.

Title IX and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

For the last 40 years, we have heralded the incredible changes Title IX has been the catalyst for in sports. But what many people may not know is that Title IX also applies to the handling of sexual assault cases on college campuses, and a rash of recent federal investigations has brought the law and its applications into the media spotlight.

WSF to Participate in Bipartisan Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Title IX

On Tuesday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m. EST, the Bipartisan Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee Hearing on Title IX will air on CSPAN. Expert witnesses set to testify will include Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation Founder. Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Title IX advocate will also witness the hearing. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut and Coast Guard Rear Admiral Stosz, the first female to lead a U.S. military academy will also be witnesses.