Posted: 3:27 pm Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

FHSAA votes unanimously to rescind game reduction policy 

By Post Staff

The Florida High School Athletic Association rescinded the controversial Schedule 6 policy at a meeting today in Gainesville. However, the parent group out of Jacksonville (FPAE) that was suing the FHSAA is still going forward with a lawsuit. The court date is Friday, July 17.

Staff writer Ben Volin was in Gainesville today and will have more later.
From the Associated Press:

The Florida High School Athletic Association has rescinded sweeping schedule changes that some claimed hurt female athletes more than their male counterparts.

Board members revisited the game reductions at a meeting in Gainesville on Wednesday. They voted 15-0 to rescind the cuts after about an hour of discussion.

The plan, first approved this spring, cut the number of varsity games by 20 percent and all other play by 40 percent through the 2010-11 school year. Football was spared, however, and that upset a group of Florida parents.

Florida Parents for Athletic Equity has argued the rule change violates Title IX, the federal law requiring schools to offer equal athletic opportunities to men and women. The group has sued the FHSAA over the plan.

In volleyball, the nine-team 9-6A district split into two “sub-districts” as a result of the schedule reduction and now all those teams have spots for five more games. The two sub-districts were North and South (the South had five schools included Palm Beach Central, which had its choice to be in the North or South) and the coaches had devised a plan to have a cross-tournament between the two sub-districts to determine the top two seeds that would move on in the playoffs. Confused yet? Well it’s all moot now because the policy was rescinded.

But Royal Palm Beach coach Sal Ciano offered some interesting insight into the change and reversal. He said they didn’t necessarily like the reduction but they planned to work around it by only playing district opponents once and filling the rest of the schedule with as many high-quality opponents as possible.

Now that they have the option to add five games, Sciano said he would try to fill them with more high-quality opponents but if they couldn’t find any, he’d used the spare time for aggressive conditioning.

The other bizarre thing to come out of Wednesday’s meeting was the fact that FPAE is still going ahead with the lawsuit. Didn’t see that one coming. I’m not even really sure how the judge doesn’t just toss this from the get go. The suit was to get the FHSAA to rescind the policy and the FHSAA did that before the court date. FPAE wants something in place to make sure the FHSAA doesn’t reinstate the policy if it drops the suit.

So the FHSAA (i.e. all of its member schools) is still going to have to shell out $25,000 (and that’s probably just the start because if there’s a ruling in favor of FPAE, the FHSAA would have to cover those legal costs too) resulting from a measure that was intended to cut costs. Isn’t it ironic??