Board of Regents Won’t Appeal Girl Gridiron Decision
NEW YORK (AP) _ The state Board of Regents will not appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed a girl to try out for her high school football team, but will require that a panel of physicians determine the fitness of girls who seek to join boys’ contact sports.
The decision Thursday means girls throughout the state may now try out for boys’ teams in six contact sports from which they had previously been barred, said state Education Commissioner Gordon M. Ambach said. The sports are football, ice hockey, basketball, wrestling, boxing and rugby.
However, the Board of Regents decided that any girl who wants to try out for the boys’ teams must first be reviewed for fitness by a panel made up of the school physician, the school’s director of athletics and a physician selected by the girl and her family, Ambach said.
The panel will review ″her physical qualifications and characteristics″ and a majority must rule that she is capable of trying out, he said.
Likewise, if a boy wants to play on a girls’ team, he must pass a physical, and if he is deemed too big or strong to play against girls, he may be barred from trying out, Ambach said.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled last month that a state law barring girls from trying out for the football team was unconstitutional. That cleared the way for Jacqueline Lantz, 16, Yonkers, to begin football practice with the junior varsity team at Lincoln High School.
Because the team had a ″no cut″ policy, the 4-foot-11, 123-pound Miss Lantz was automatically a member. However, when the coach determined that she wasn’t big and strong enough to continue contact practice, she volunteered to keep the team’s statistics.
Arnold Bloom, spokesman for the state Education Department, said he believed the board decided against appealing because victory appeared unlikely. He said the decision wouldn’t become formal until January.
Miss Lantz was delighted with the decision.
″That’s great,″ she said. ″Now other girls won’t have to go to court the way I did.″