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U.S. appeals court overturns ruling in Indiana Title IX case

“We were thrilled,” said Mark Sniderman, an attorney for the daughters of Amber Parker and Tammy Hurley, who filed the lawsuit over the scheduling at Franklin County School, based in Brookville in east central Indiana. “We’re thrilled for Amber Parker and Tammy Hurley and their daughters.

“They will get their day in court.”

The Chicago-based appeal court’s ruling was made Tuesday.

Tom Wheeler, attorney for the schools, said the ruling was not unanticipated and no decision had been made on whether to appeal. If there is no appeal, Sniderman estimated it would take 12 to 18 months for the case to reach trial.

“With respect to Franklin (County), we know there’s a disparity,” Wheeler said. “We said to the court, while there is a disparity, it does not impact their athletic opportunities. We’re (also) resolving (the disparity).”

A summary judgment from the Indianapolis-based U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana dismissed the case in October, saying the damage done to girls basketball players wasn’t substantial enough.

According to the appeals court ruling, Franklin County’s boys team played nearly 95% of its games in “primetime” — an evening game prior to a day without school —while the girls played less than 53% of theirs. Franklin County athletics director Beth Foster testified that she tried to increase the number of girls games played in primetime but the other athletics directors refused.

Parker, also the team’s coach at the time, brought the suit against Franklin County and the 13 schools on its schedule on behalf of her daughter, and Hurley filed an identical suit when Parker moved out of state when her husband took a new job. Parker received a settlement of approximately $30,000, according to Wheeler, after her contract was not renewed as coach.

Sniderman said Parker and Hurley are primarily concerned with the scheduling disparity being corrected but they are also seeking monetary damages, which would be determined by a jury. The other 13 schools in the suit will not be responsible for any damages, according to the ruling, but were left in the suit since their schedules will have to be reworked to bring Franklin County into Title IX compliance.

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