EIA Petitions Supreme Court for Hearing in JMU Case
Equity in Athletics, Inc. (“EIA”) filed a petition that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear EIA’s case for a preliminary injunction to reinstate the ten intercollegiate athletic teams that James Madison University (“JMU”) demoted to club status effective July 1, 2007.
The petition argues argues that the U.S. Court of Appeals improperly evaluated EIA’s entitlement to a preliminary injunction for three primary reasons:
* The Fourth Circuit applied an overly harsh standard for preliminary injunctions and failed to hold JMU’s uncontested years of illegal secret meetings and its months of footdragging against JMU;
* The Fourth Circuit incorrectly found that it “impermissible” to challenge JMU’s conduct, simply because JMU was following federal guidance (which EIA contends is procedurally and substantively illegal); and
* The Fourth Circuit failed to recognize that the federal guidance, known as the Three-Part Test, unlawfully changed the standard for Title IX compliance from an equal interest-based opportunity to equal enrollment-based participation.
“The most disturbing thing about the Fourth Circuit’s decision is its suggestion that we cannot challenge the constitutionality of JMU’s actions because some bureaucrat wrote a memo,” said Lawrence J. Joseph, one of EIA’s attorneys. He added that the issue of whether Title IX somehow displaces the opportunity to bring a constitutional challenge currently is before the Supreme Court in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, which may help EIA even if the Court does not give EIA a full hearing.