Basketball Scheduling
Blog: From the Director
Posted Friday, January 28, 2011

Against the better judgment of most people involved in Michigan school sports, the MHSAA was forced by federal courts in 2007 to change the seasons during which several of its tournaments are scheduled.  Neither that case nor Title IX requires local schools to schedule regular season boys and girls basketball games on any particular days or times; and late in 2010 a federal district court in Indiana made precisely that point.

In Parker v. Indiana High School Athletic Association, No. 09-885 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 6, 2010), the court ruled that playing more boys than girls basketball games on Fridays and Saturdays did not constitute a Title IX violation nor violate equal protection rights.

Perhaps this decision will encourage local school administrators in Michigan to listen more to their players and coaches about when they would like to play their games and to settle on schedules that have enough common sense and regularity so that spectators can more easily know which teams are playing where and when.  Mixing up the days and times for regular-season basketball games is doing a disservice to our students and their supporters.

Our views are shared in the following articles from the Grand Rapids Press and Detroit Free Press.

As for MHSAA tournaments, we already know which gender plays when:

  • Week 1 – Girls Districts – Monday, Wednesday, Friday (Feb. 28, March 2, 4)
  • Week 2 – Boys Districts – Monday, Wednesday, Friday (March 7, 9, 11)
                      Girls Regionals – Tuesday, Thursday (March 8, 10)
  • Week 3 – Boys Regionals – Monday, Wednesday (March 14, 16)
                      Girls Finals – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (March 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Week 4 – Boys Finals – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (March 22, 24, 25, 26)

There is some sentiment to reverse this schedule.  The MHSAA Volleyball Committee has proposed that boys precede girls; the MHSAA Basketball Committee opposes that change.  The 2009 MHSAA Update Meeting Opinion Poll revealed 71.7% of 709 respondents opposed the change.


# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:51 PM
I agree 100%! Looking through the schedules there is a game every day and this takes away from other school activities which students must choose between, (band,concerts, academics). Also no Varsity double-headers unless they are Saturdays where all the teams at all levels come and make it an all day atmosphere where the schools share their love for the game in a festive basketball atmosphere.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:52 PM
I would just like to note that while it is very interesting that a federal court in Indiana reached that conclusion, if a suit were brought in Michigan, the Michigan federal courts would be under no obligation to abide by the decision reached in Indiana if they did not find it persuasive.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:53 PM
Why is the MHSAA Volleyball commitee making a proposal on when the basketball tournaments should be played?? Isn't this the major reason we are having this discussion? People that have no business getting involved forcing their opinions on someone else.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:53 PM
This whole thing is getting so out of control. It is hurting athletic department budgets the worst. I officiate 3-4 high school games a week and the gyms are nearly empty for girls games and barely half full for a decent boys matchup.
We are punishing the masses and pandering to the few.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:54 PM
I have been really up in arms about this topic over the past few years. I recently retired from teaching, but even when I was at the school, I had trouble finding out when games were because of this type of scheduling.
Now that I'm not in the school every day, I have a real fight on my hands to keep up with the schedule so I can go to games.
At a school board meeting 2 years ago the AD reported that gate receipts were down 45%. No wonder! No one knows when the games are!
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:55 PM
My daughter plays volleyball and basketball and I know she would love to have some time between the seasons. Volleyball districts finish on Friday and basketball practice starts on the following Monday. The boys do get some time between the end of football (for teams not in the playoffs) and the beginning of basketball. It does seem to be unfair to the girls in that situation.
I agree about the whole day of basketball. 7th, 8th, "C", JV & varsity, make a big deal of it for all the teams. Have school functions that could be tied into the day. (Fundrasiers, special events, etc.)
Leave the tournement days the way are now, the travel and other issues will only effect the schools that make it farther down the tourny trail.
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:56 PM
I agree with Tim as I observe the same while I'm in the gyms. However it is too late to complain about it as the decisions are made and we have to abide by them. I do not think someone should force Athletic Directors to schedule when the girls/boys play their games especially in the same day or night. That is going too far. Athletic budgets are shrinking as it is because we have so many games per week and the economy, don't add insult to injury please.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:57 PM
I took a look at the Indiana decision and was frankly unimpressed by the court's analysis, but unless you look at the background procedural matters and briefs submitted you never know for sure what the court had to review and base its decision on. The court is not under any obligation to go out and find relevant legal authorities and it cannot produce any of its own factual data to use in making a decision.

The court placed great deference on the US Department of Education's interpretation of Title IX. And, to me, what seemed to be missing is any current statement from the DoE on whether it considers the days of the week contests are played on as a potential Title IX violation. A quick google search found the DoE's August, 2010 letter to the dean of Ball State Univ (in Indiana) where that specific issue was investigated by the DoE and no violation was found as there was no preference in scheduling men's sports on particular days of the week versus the days of the week used to schedule women's sports. In other words -- the days of the week games are schedule IS A FACTOR used by the DofE in determining a school's Title IX compliance.
Friday, December 30, 2011 5:58 PM
And forcing teams to play on Wednesday, during tournament play takes away from religion during the Lenten season.

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