(Washington, D.C.) Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of the female plaintiffs in Amber Parker, et al., v. Franklin County Community School Corporation. The Court found the plaintiffs could proceed to trial in their claim that the Indiana school district violated Title IX by relegating the high school girls’ basketball teams to non-primetime game schedules, reversing the lower court’s judgment for the school district. The girls were forced to play on week nights, which made it difficult to complete their homework and resulted in a loss of audience. The girls said the schedule also generated feelings of inferiority on the team. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), along with law firm Caplin Sniderman P.C., represented the plaintiffs in the appeal and presented oral arguments before the Seventh Circuit Court in May, 2011.
The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:
“We applaud the Court’s unanimous decision upholding Title IX’s strong protections that require schools to treat female athletes fairly. The decision sends a clear message to schools, coaches, and athletes: it is not acceptable for boys’ teams to be given preferential treatment over girls. The female basketball players in Franklin County were forced to play on school nights—in sharp contrast to the boys’ games on Friday and Saturday nights. The girls struggled to complete their homework on game nights and competed in virtually empty gymnasiums without the beneficial energy and excitement of a crowd. This decision says that girls’ efforts are just as valued as those of boys and reminds us that nearly 40 years after the passage of Title IX, this groundbreaking law remains essential to the continued fight for equal opportunities for girls and women in all areas of education.”