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Indiana HS agrees to move more girls' games to prime time

10:52 PM, Oct. 15, 2012 EDT

Facing a Title IX lawsuit, Franklin County High School has agreed to increase the number of girls basketball games played in "prime time" over the next three years to match the boys' total.

Franklin County girls basketball coach Amber Parker filed a suit against Franklin County and the 13 schools on its schedule on behalf of her daughter, Jayde, because the team was not playing as many games in prime time -- defined as a game held prior to a day without school.

Title IX is the 1972 federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender by institutions that receive federal money.

William Groth, an attorney who represented Parker and Tammy Hurley -- who filed an identical suit when Parker moved out of state -- said in an e-mail the decision "sent a clear message" to lower courts and athletic directors.

"Title IX requires equality in all phases of high school athletics, including the scheduling of athletic contests," Groth said. "Female student-athletes will now have the promise of equal access to prime time scheduling on Fridays and Saturdays when attendance is greatest and disruption to academics is least."

Tom Wheeler, who represented the schools, was not immediately available for comment.

The Franklin County boys were playing about 95 percent of their games in prime time, while the girls played less than 53 percent of its games in those slots.

According to a consent decree filed with the 7th Circuit, Franklin County will schedule at least two more girls games in prime time each of the next three seasons. It's unclear the extent to which the boys schedule will change.

"As a mother of three daughters and two sons, I feel it makes the experiences for all my kids better," Parker said in an email. "As a coach, I feel it has been a long time coming!

"On a personal level, it cost me the profession I love but I know that one day I will look back on the impact this decision has had for the girls in Indiana and be proud of the sacrifices and persistence it took to make this happen."

Parker's contract as coach was not renewed prior to her move out of state and she received a settlement of approximately $30,000, according to Wheeler, who represented the schools.

The high school is located in Brookville, about 75 miles southeast of Indianapolis.



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