Although most commonly associated with collegiate athletics, such as the recent lawsuit against Quinnipiac, Title IX also applies to high school athletics, not to mention activities beyond athletics. Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 states as follows:
no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
In light of the present economic conditions in which high schools are finding it difficult to maintain athletic programs, we may be hearing more about the application of Title IX at the high school level. In Connnecticut, Darien has been dealing with some Title IX issues. According to Katie Thomas of the New York Times (by way of Rich Karcher at Sports Law Blog), Florida officials scrapped a plan to reduce schedules, including competitive cheerleading but not football, under threat of a federal lawsuit. Under the plan, football was to be exempted because there are only 10 games per season. A group of parents, represented by Nancy Hogshead-Makar, challenged the plan under Title IX.
One of the interesting angles of this issue is that in football hotbeds, such as Florida, football pays for itself and may even generate revenue. Financial concerns, however, are not considered in a Title IX analysis. Stay tuned for more coverage of this issue.
For more on high school sports and the law, see the new publication Legal Issues in High School Athletics.