Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FHSAA Board, gender group agree on settlement

The Florida High School Athletic Association and a gender equity group have settled a lawsuit stemming from the association's attempt to pare down its prep sports schedules.
The agreement includes these points:
- The FHSAA will comply with all state and federal policies applicable state athletic associations, including the Florida Educational Equity Act, the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
- The FHSAA is prohibited from retaliating against the plaintiffs, their children or anyone else involved with the lawsuit.
- At the FHSAA's representative assembly in January 2010, the association will provide training about the obligations of Title IX and other laws dealing with gender equity. Similar training will be conducted at the next six FHSAA compliance seminars, beginning July 2010.
- The FHSAA will pay the plaintiffs' legal fees of $41,200.
Florida Parents for Athletic Equity was formed when the FHSAA, in an attempt to lessen the financial burdens of its member schools,voted to trim its schedules - 20 percent for varsity sports, 40 percent for sub-varsity sports - with the exclusion of football and competitive cheerleading.
The measure was carried out in April.
The group felt the cuts were biased against female athletes and violated Title IX, as well as state law, and filed a lawsuit in June, as well as a temporary injunction and restraining order.
In July, the FHSAA's board of directors called an emergency meeting and unanimously voted to rescind the cuts, which were referred to as Policy 6.
"It is unfortunate that the situation occurred while trying to help our member schools with the financial crisis they are facing, which inadvertently created an unintentional disparity to our student-athletes," said FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing. "We will continue to focus on providing excellent academic and athletic opportunities for the girls and boys in the state of Florida."

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