Debate Over Boys Playing In Girls Sports Headed To Court

May 6, 2013 / Hockey
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A dispute revolving around a decades-old law that allows boys to play on girls high school sports teams appears to be headed to court.

Attorneys representing the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association — which says it would like to see the law changed to make sure girls do not lose athletic opportunities and for safety reasons — and state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office met Friday afternoon in Commonwealth Court.

“It looks like we are headed toward an evidentiary hearing of some sort,” said Pittsburgh attorney Mary Grenen, following the status conference between the two sides. Ms. Grenen is a potential intervenor in the case on behalf of her daughter, a Fox Chapel field hockey player.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the case Friday and referred questions to court filings.

The case centers on a 1975 Commonwealth Court ruling that declared a PIAA bylaw forbidding girls from practicing or competing against boys in school athletics unconstitutional. At the time, there were few girls-only sports and the ruling was intended to open up more opportunities for girls in male-dominated athletics.

But, over the years, as more girls teams were created, the order began to be interpreted so that boys could also play on girls teams if the sport was offered only for girls — the opposite effect of the order’s original intent.

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