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An Equal Playing Field: The Potential Conflict Between Title IX \u26 the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment

By Christopher Marquis


In 2012 the Department of Education received a complaint claiming that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (“MIAA”) policy of allowing boys to try out for girls’ field hockey constituted a violation of Title IX. This federal statute prohibits discrimination in educational institutions on the basis of sex. This Note looks at the common roots of Title IX and the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that allowed boys’ participation in field hockey. It then examines Title IX as it applies to the MIAA field hockey policy and determines that the Massachusetts Policy does not, in and of itself, create a violation. This Note further suggests that even if the policy did violate Title IX, policy implications suggest that using Title IX to invalidate another provision designed to promote gender equality is unwise. Finally, this Note identifies a number of gender-neutral alternatives to deal with the legitimate problems posed by the participation of boys in what are traditionally girls’ sports

Topics: Civil Rights and Discrimination, Education Law, Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law, Law and Gender, State and Local Government Law
Publisher: Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School
Year: 2014
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