Irrebuttable Presumption Doctrine: Applied to State and Federal Regulations excluding Females from Contact Sports
Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District Board of Education v. Ohio High School Athletic Association, 443 F. Supp. 753 (S.D. Ohio 1978).
Since the early part of this decade, state high school athletic association rules barring females from participation in various interscholastic sports have been invalidated at both the state and federal level. The recent federal district court decision in Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District Board of Education v. Ohio High School Athletic Association conforms to this trend by requiring equal opportunity for females in state high school athletics. Judicial invalidation of these discriminatory regulations has generally been based on one of the various state laws prohibiting sex discrimination or on the equal protection clause of the fourteenth :amendment to the United States Constitution. In contrast, the court in Yellow Springs found that an Ohio High School Athletic Association rule, by creating an irrebuttable presumption of female nonqualification, violated the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. Moreover, the court extended its decision beyond the challenged state regulation to find that 45 C.F.R. section 86.41(b), a federal administrative guideline for providing equal athletic opportunity in public schools, violates the due process clause of the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution to the extent that it authorizes the exclusion of females from contact sports. Yellow Springs is the first recorded decision to consider the constitutionality of this federal regulation. This casenote will examine both findings of the court, each of which break new judicial ground in the area of sports. The distinctions in methodology and effect between an equal protection analysis and a due process analysis will be discussed in order to compare the two different approaches to invalidation of sexually discriminatory athletic rules. Then the specific language of 45 C.F.R. section 86.41(b) and related sections will be examined in reviewing the Yellow Springs court's decision that this federal regulation is unconstitutional.
Henley, Elizabeth J.
"Irrebuttable Presumption Doctrine: Applied to State and Federal Regulations excluding Females from Contact Sports,"
University of Dayton Law Review: Vol. 4:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udlr/vol4/iss1/8