MSU College of Law News

MSU Law Students Present Conference on Gender Equity in Sports

For Release March 22, 2005

Marketing & Communications
400 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

Contact:
Janet Harvey-Clark
517/432-6959

EAST LANSING, MI - Michigan State University College of Law will address the controversial issue of gender equity in Michigan high school and college athletic programs at a conference on Saturday, April 16, 2005. The conference, "Title IX and Gender Equity in Sports," will be held at the MSU College of Law building on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This conference was inspired by Communities for Equity v. Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), 377 F.3d 504 (6th Circuit 2004). The 6th Circuit Court ordered the MHSAA to switch its high school sports seasons to create equity in college recruiting of both men and women. As a result, the MHSAA is in the process of filing its pleadings before the U.S. Supreme Court, and there is likely to be news about whether or not the Supreme Court will hear the case around the time of the conference.

In response to the lawsuit, the issue of equity in sports has become a hot topic in Michigan, which currently is one of two states—soon to be the last state—to hold women’s high school sports in different seasons than men’s sports. On one side, the switch in seasons may cause an undue burden on high schools’ finances and facilities. On the other hand, having women’s high school sports in seasons at variance with those of other states may negatively affect Michigan women high school athletes by limiting their exposure to college recruiters.

Title IX also has been an issue in collegiate sports, and the conference will feature speakers addressing this issue as well. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is the landmark legislation that states: "No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid." Title IX governs both collegiate athletics and academic programs.

The conference is cosponsored by the Michigan State University College of Law Journal of Gender Law and the MSU Law Entertainment & Sports Law Journal, both of which are student-run publications. In hosting this conference, both journals hope to create dialogue on the past and current state of equity in sports for women at the high school and college levels.

The journals have put together a panel of experts to speak on the topic of gender equity in sports: Al Bush, Jr., attorney and MSU Law adjunct professor; Marcia Federbush, Title IX equity advocate; Kristen Galles, Virginia attorney for Communities for Equity; Nancy Hogshead-Makar, professor of law, Florida Coastal School of Law; Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), Michigan House of Representatives; Diane Madsen, member, board of directors, Communities for Equity; and Kathy McGee, director of Advancement, Flint Powers Catholic High School.

The registration fee for the conference is $15. Students and members of the press may attend for free. Interested persons may register online at www.law.msu.edu/gender, or by calling the MSU Law events office at 517/432-6955. The MSU College of Law is located at the corner of Shaw and Bogue on the MSU campus. A parking ramp is adjacent to the building. A map to the college may be found at www.law.msu.edu/map.

MSU College of Law was founded as the Detroit College of Law in 1891. To extend its commitment to educational excellence, the college affiliated with MSU in 1995 and moved to MSU’s East Lansing campus in 1997. The move enabled the law college to build state-of-the-art facilities and to provide the benefits of a Big Ten campus.

MSU College of Law strengthened its affiliation with Michigan State University in 2004, becoming more closely aligned academically. The association between the two schools has led to a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program at the law college. Today, the college is one of only two private law schools to be affiliated with a research university and one of the oldest continuously operating independent law colleges in the nation.

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