In fall 2011, faced with the prospect of another season watching their daughter, Rose, play field hockey against boys, the Grenens had finally had enough. They wrote to the PIAA, which invited them to come to its offices in Mechanicsburg and give a PowerPoint presentation. At the meeting, in January 2012, Mrs. Grenen figured that she would have to persuade the PIAA to be on her side. But in the middle of the meeting, someone interrupted her.In other words, we are expected to believe that legal equality means girls being able to play on boys teams, whether there are girls teams or not, but boys cannot play on girls teams, even if there are no boys teams upon which they can play.
"You're preaching to the choir," a man said.
The PIAA had been discussing the issue for years, but it felt that its hands were tied because of a Commonwealth Court order that was nearly four decades old. In 1973, the PIAA had a bylaw which stated, "Girls shall not compete or practice against boys in any athletic contest." The attorney general asserted that this provision violated the new Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment, which stated, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual."
In 1975, Commonwealth Court entered an order that declared the PIAA bylaw unconstitutional, saying, "The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is hereby ordered to permit girls to practice and compete with boys in interscholastic athletics ... ."
At the time of the order, few girls-only sports were offered. The order was meant to give girls who wanted to play sports offered only for boys the opportunity to do so. As the years passed, and more girls teams were created, the order began to be interpreted so that boys could also play on girls teams if the sport was offered only for girls -- which had the opposite effect of the order's original intent. The only way for the PIAA to change the interpretation of the order was to have the case reopened -- a task that would take legal man-hours and resources that the PIAA didn't feel it had. Basically, the PIAA needed people like the Grenens to fight the battle, and the organization would be glad to offer its support.
"It could be a large expense, and we still don't know the outcome," said Bob Lombardi, the PIAA executive director. "The Grenens have provided a great opportunity because they are attorneys to work on this."
Key to the Grenens' hope for reopening the case was a 1985 interpretation of the Pennsylvania ERA that said the ERA "does not prohibit differential treatment among the sexes when that treatment is reasonable and genuinely based on physical characteristics unique to one sex."
In fall 2012, the Grenens filed a petition with Commonwealth Court to reopen the 1975 case. The court granted the request -- a huge victory and likely the only hope to change the status quo.
On Feb. 26, the Grenens, the PIAA and representatives from the attorney general's office will meet in Harrisburg for a status conference. The Grenens and the PIAA's hope is that they will agree on a common-sense bylaw that will outlaw boys playing on girls' teams while staying in accordance with the ERA.
Even if you think, well, what does it matter, it's just sports, keep this in mind: Title IX is now being applied to science. Orwell put it beautifully. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. And the Sports Guy put it even better: women ruin everything.
Do you really think it was an accident that women were never permitted any voice in the governance of the Roman Republic or the great historical democracies such as Athens, Thebes, Imperial Britain, and Revolutionary America? Do you really believe it to be a mere coincidence that many modern democracies, including Germany, Italy, and the member states of the European Union, were not able to survive even 100 years of female suffrage?