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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Title IX Case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal of a case challenging the constitutionality of Title IX's three-prong compliance test, my colleague Mark Walsh reports on the School Law Blog.

The group Equity in Athletics Inc. was challenging a 2011 ruling from a district court in the case Equity in Athletics Inc v. Department of Education, which found Title IX's compliance test not in violation of equal protection rights of the Constitution.

Title IX, signed in 1972, requires any school that receives federal funding to provide equal athletic and educational opportunities to both males and females.

Schools can prove their compliance in one of three ways: ensuring that female athletic participation aligns proportionally to total female enrollment, demonstrating a history of expanding athletic opportunities for females, or proving that they're meeting the athletic interests and abilities of their female athletes.

Equity in Athletics argued that the three-part test "unlawfully establish[ed] a disparate-impact standard" and "unlawfully authorized intentional discrimination." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ruled otherwise.

According to Mark, the Supreme Court justices declined the appeal from Equity in Athletics Inc without comment.

A similar case, challenging the constitutionality of applying the three-part test to high school athletics, was filed last summer by the American Sports Council.

The ASC argues that Title IX's three-part test was originally intended for intercollegiate athletics, and thus, applying the test to high schools would leave teams facing "discrimination in the form of numerical quotas on sex-specific athletic participation."

To date, no court has ruled against the constitutionality of Title IX's three-part test, at any level, according to Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy at the Women's Sports Foundation.

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