Title IX Challenged in Federal Court; Claims High Schools Not Required To Submit

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 21. THE American Sports Council has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education claiming the high schools are not required to follow the Federal department's Title IX law.

The lawsuit filed in Washington D.C.'s federal district court stated that "If high schools are required to submit to the same regulatory burdens as have colleges over the past three decades, high school athletes and their teams will face similar discrimination in the form of numerical quotas on sex-specific athletic participation."

The American Sports Council, an advocacy group that works on behalf of saving sports teams, claims the federal department's Title IX law could keep more than a million high school males out of sport programs. Title IX, which became law in 1972, keeps the number of male and female athletes in an academic institution in line with its active enrollment. The ASC has claimed Title IX should not apply to high school sports, adding it is not in line with the equal protection guarantees under the U.S. Constitution.

The ASC, according an Associated Press report, is seeking a court order to keep the Department of Education from using Title IX. Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the Education Department, said Title IX is a "valuable tool" in keeping a level playing field in scholastic athletics.

The ASC has long been seeking an end to Title IX, going so far as to petition the Education Department in 2007 to either repeal the law or revise it. The federal department's refusal to act on the 2007 petition, the ASC said in a statement today, led to the current lawsuit. ASC Chairman Eric Pearson called Title IX "legal intimidation."

"We have all witnessed the effects of proportionality at the college level. Current trends will lead to (two times) the opportunities for scholarships for college bound women compared to men," said Bob Groseth, Executive Director for the College Swim Coaches Association of America. "More importantly, there has been a direct link to cutting of men's collegiate teams and boys' participation at the age group level. We have all been to meets (where) … girls heats are twice that of boys. If this standard is applied to high schools, you can multiply what happened when college opportunities were cut by 20. If we start losing high school boys' teams it will have devastating effects on swimming as a sport and as a profession," said Bob Groseth, Executive Director for the College Swim Coaches Association of America.

"This is not an anti-women issue. This is merely asking for equal protection under the law of both genders," Groseth concluded.

The lawsuit does not appear to extend to intercollegiate sports, which also falls under the umbrella of Title IX and has faced numerous program cuts, especially in swimming and diving.

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