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Prep Scheduling Plan Rejected

August 1, 2002

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ A federal judge rejected a Michigan High School Athletic Association plan to change the seasons for four sports, saying it fails to create scheduling equity.

In a ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Enslen gave the MHSAA until Oct. 30 to choose from three scheduling options, one of which would combine all sports seasons so both sexes’ teams play during the same time of year.

Either of the two remaining choices would switch the seasons of girl’s basketball and volleyball.

The MHSAA had submitted a plan to change the seasons of golf, tennis, soccer and swimming and diving.

Enslen ruled Dec. 17 that the MHSAA, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, discriminates against females in the scheduling of some sports.

The ruling stems from a 1998 federal lawsuit filed by Diane Madsen and Jay Roberts-Eveland, two Grand Rapids-area mothers of schoolgirl athletes, in conjunction with their group, Communities for Equity.

Their suit alleges that the scheduling of some girls sports _ particularly basketball and volleyball _ hurts female athletes.

Michigan is among the few states where high school girls play basketball in the fall and volleyball in the winter. Colleges and universities traditionally play those sports in the opposite seasons.

Enslen ordered the MHSAA to submit a realigned, nondiscriminatory sports schedule that can be implemented by the 2003-04 school year. The compliance plan was filed in May, followed by the plaintiffs’ response.

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