Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) has denied equality of athletic opportunity to female students, claims a complaint the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware filed on behalf of a client.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Acts of 1972 prohibits gender discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. In the case of athletics, schools are obligated to provide male and female athletes with comparable benefits, resources, and participation opportunities. By scheduling girls' soccer in the spring instead of the traditional fall season, DIAA is violating Title IX's requirement that female students receive benefits comparable to male students.
Delaware's female youth soccer players are often deprived of opportunities for college recruitment, scholarships, participation in U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program events, and scouting by U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams— all opportunities that a fall season, such as one that male athletes follow, would not conflict with.
Additionally, the current spring season forces some female soccer players to choose between playing for their school team and developing more advanced skills as part of an elite club team. Club teams traditionally play in the off-season to avoid scheduling conflicts with the main sport season and prevent athlete over-exertion. Instead of the club season providing an opportunity for athletes to stay conditioned and sharpen their skills (as it does for male athletes), playing a combined season instead leads to increased risk of injury, stress, and academic failure among female soccer players.
The ACLU of Delaware filed a complaint with the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), citing non-compliance with Title IX. in December, however, an administrative appeal of that decision has been filed.