Michigan State University

February 17, 2015 : Judge Richard Enslen Dies, Remembered for Forcing MHSAA to Comply with Title IX

Jon Harrison
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Judge Richard Enslen died Feb. 17 at age 83.

He is remembered for forcing the MHSAA to comply with Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in school settings.

Enslen's rulings in the case had a lasting impact nationwide, Galles said, especially his rejection of MHSAA's argument that, as a private organization, it wasn't subject to Title IX or the equal protection clause under the U.S. Constitution.

Enslen ruled that, private or not, a statewide athletic association was subject to racial and gender discrimination laws, a stance affirmed by that U.S. Supreme Court.

On the issue of sports seasons, MHSAA defended its schedule as optimizing use of facilities, coaches and referees. The plaintiffs argued that as a result of playing in different seasons than peers around the country, Michigan's female athletes were less likely to be named to All-American teams, win athletic scholarships or participate in national competitions.

Enslen ruled that however pragmatic the arrangement, girls bore the entire burden of the scheduling conflicts and that was illegal.

For the full article, see Julie Mack, "Death of Judge Richard Enslen revives memories of epic Title IX battle with MHSAA", MLive, February 21, 2015.

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