Parker v. IN High School Athletic Assoc.
Case Adopted 05/11
Case Update (10/12):
The case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana, which held that school districts are “arms of the state” that are immune from suit in federal court for constitutional violations. On Tuesday, January 31, that ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which remanded the case back to the lower court to determine “whether any genuine issues of material fact exist as to the plaintiffs’ claims.”
- AAUW Press Release Applauding the Decision
In October 2012, the two parties reached an agreement in the case. The agreement approved by the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana requires progressive improvements in scheduling girls’ varsity basketball games through 2017.
The primary issue in the case centers on whether or not the discriminatory scheduling of girls’ basketball games on non-prime time days violates Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972.
In 2009, Amber Parker, the former coach of the Franklin County High School girls’ varsity basketball team, sued the Franklin County Community School Corporation and the other school districts against which Franklin plays on behalf of her daughter, who played on the team. The suit was subsequently joined by Tammy Hurley on behalf of her daughter, another member of the team. Parker alleged violations of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution due to the disparity in scheduling of games between the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams. The suit demonstrated that the majority of boys’ games were played in prime time — on Friday and Saturday nights — while the girls’ games were relegated to weekday nights. The scheduling unfairly placed academic burdens on the girls, who competed on school nights, were deprived of crowd support, and were made to feel like second-class athletes.
The U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana granted summary judgment for the school districts. In addition, the court held that the school districts are “arms of the state” that are entitled to immunity from suit in federal court for constitutional violations, an issue with potentially far-reaching effects.
Parker appealed the ruling. The National Women’s Law Center and co-counsel filed plaintiffs’ opening brief to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2011 and the reply brief in April 2011. Oral arguments for the case occurred on May 31 in Chicago, Illinois.