BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – In a federal class action, four college softball players at Samford University say The Southern Conference’s “inequitable” cuts to post-season sports championships “harms girls” and intentionally discriminates against women, in violation of Title IX.
The Southern Conference, a Division I group, is a nonprofit corporation that is the “official governing body” for athletics in 12 schools. Because the member schools receive federal aid, the conference is subject to provisions of Title IX.
The class claims that to cut athletic budgets, the conference limited the number of players eligible to participate in post-season sports, resulting in a “severe(ly) disproportionate” number of women athletes having their season cut short.
The claims that that 256 female student-athletes will stay home, compared to just 116 male student athletes.
The class seeks declaratory judgment of sex discrimination, and an injunction stopping The Southern Conference from making the cuts that “burden one sex over another.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Alicia K. Haynes of Birmingham.
The Southern Conference includes The Citadel, Georgia Southern, Davidson, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Samford joined the conference on July 1, 2008.