Huntsville City Schools board votes to settle Title IX lawsuit

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Huntsville City School board has voted unanimously to settle a Title IX lawsuit against the school system that alleges discrimination of female athletes.   The decision came during a Board of Education meeting Friday evening.

The lawsuit was filed in October of 2016. Four parents filed on behalf of three Huntsville High softball players. It alleges the three students, a freshman and two sophomores at the time, were being deprived of equal benefits in school-sponsored athletics.

The settlement provides for equal funding and support for boys' and girls' athletics, regardless if the source is school funds, contributions from boosters, or other third party donations.    Equal promotion of athletic events and achievements is also addressed, as is coach recruitment/pay, travel and per diem allowances,  and athlete training.

Per the agreement the board shall ensure treatment and benefits to the softball team equivalent to that of the baseball team.   Those items must be met on or before January 1, 2018. That includes a regulation field, locker room at the Sammons Athletics Complex (currently used by the freshman football team) , renovations to the press box/concession building,  "open" screening in front of the dugouts, adequate storage, padding on the backstop, a pitching machine, working irrigation system, equal maintenance equipment and adequate lighting.

Other facilities must be provided by August 13, 2018.  They include a heated/air-conditioned locker room facility and a fully enclosed hitting facility.