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FHSAA sets aside proposals to cut schedule, will try to resolve concerns of discrimination

ORLANDO — The Florida High School Athletic Association tabled two proposals Friday aimed to modify or erase reductions in state athletic schedules that passed in April.

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The board of directors will consider proposals in September to reverse course on 20 percent schedule cuts — excluding football and cheerleading — in varsity sports and 40 percent for JV. Fall schedules will already be set by September, as will most of winter's.

FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing cited pending litigation from a group called Florida Parents for Athletic Equity, headed by three-time gold medalist and gender equity advocate Nancy Hogshead-Makar. The group believes the reductions are in violation of Title IX and discriminate against female athletes.

The board voted 9-4 Friday to push both amendments to September without discussion from the public or among the board. Hogshead-Makar, who traveled from Jacksonville, was allotted 15 minutes to address the board and asked members to reconsider tabling the two proposals or prepare for a legal showdown.

But Dearing and Hogshead-Makar met after the meeting and agreed to try to hash things out over the next 10 days. If they find common ground to resolve the schedule cuts Dearing could call an emergency FHSAA board meeting. If not, Hogshead-Makar must decide whether to proceed with a lawsuit.

Also Friday, the board voted overwhelmingly against a request by St. Johns school district to waive a transfer rule prohibiting student-athletes from following a coach to a new school. A waiver would have given new schools footing to allow student-athletes to transfer for athletic reasons.

The issue particularly hits home in Hillsborough and Pasco counties with the openings of Anclote, Strawberry Crest and Steinbrenner this fall. Those schools have hired faculty and coaches from other schools and would arguably have the same argument St. Johns presented.

FHSAA sets aside proposals to cut schedule, will try to resolve concerns of discrimination 06/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 5, 2009 9:50pm]
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