- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) Michigan's state high school athletic association discriminates against girls by scheduling their athletic seasons at a different time of the year than their collegiate counterparts, a federal judge ruled.
In a ruling issued yesterday, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Enslen in Kalamazoo supported the claim of two Grand Rapids-area women.
Judge Enslen said the Michigan High School Athletic Association's policies violate the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the federal Title IX law and Michigan's civil rights law.
Diane Madsen and Jay Roberts-Eveland, in conjunction with their group, Communities for Equity, sued the association in 1998.
Michigan is one of a few states where high school girls play basketball in the fall and volleyball in the winter the opposite of the seasons traditionally used by colleges and universities.
The plaintiffs also wanted the seasons changed for girls' golf, soccer, swimming and tennis.
The suit claimed that the schedule of seasons hurts female athletes because it hamstrings college recruiters and limits news coverage.
Attorneys for the state's governing body for prep sports argued in court that the group's 1,300 member schools, not the association, create the rules and set the sports seasons. They also presented defense witnesses who disputed the claim that the different schedule hampers recruiting or news coverage.
Judge Enslen, who heard testimony in the case from Sept. 24 to Oct. 4, ruled that the MHSAA must bring its scheduling of girls' sports seasons into compliance by the 2003-04 school year.
Title IX prohibits schools and colleges receiving federal financial aid from discriminating on the basis of sex. The MHSAA does not receive federal funds, but the court had ruled its role in school sports makes it subject to the requirements.

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