121A.04 ATHLETIC PROGRAMS; SEX DISCRIMINATION.
Subdivision 1. Purpose.
The legislature recognizes certain past inequities in access to
athletic programs and in the various degrees of athletic opportunity previously afforded members
of each sex. The purpose of this section is to provide an equal opportunity for members of both
sexes to participate in athletic programs.
Subd. 2. Equal opportunity in athletic programs.
Each educational institution or public
service shall provide equal opportunity for members of both sexes to participate in its athletic
program. In determining whether equal opportunity to participate in athletic programs is available
for the purposes of this section, at least the following factors shall be considered to the extent
that they are applicable to a given situation: whether the opportunity for males and females to
participate in the athletic program reflects the demonstrated interest in athletics of the males
and females in the student body of the educational institution or the population served by the
public service; whether the variety and selection of sports and levels of competition effectively
accommodate the demonstrated interests of members of both sexes; the provision of equipment
and supplies; scheduling of games and practice times; assignment of coaches; provision of
locker rooms; practice and competitive facilities; and the provision of necessary funds for teams
of one sex.
Subd. 3. Exceptions.
(a) Notwithstanding any other state law to the contrary, in athletic
programs operated by educational institutions or public services and designed for participants 12
years old or older or in the 7th grade or above, it is not an unfair discriminatory practice to restrict
membership on an athletic team to participants of one sex whose overall athletic opportunities
have previously been limited.
(b) When an educational institution or a public service provides athletic teams for children
11 years old or younger or in the 6th grade or below, those teams shall be operated without
restrictions on the basis of sex, except that when overall athletic opportunities for one sex have
previously been limited and there is a demonstrated interest by members of that sex to participate
on a team restricted to members of that sex, the educational institution or public service may
provide a team restricted to members of that sex.
(c) When two teams in the same sport are in fact separated or substantially separated
according to sex, the two teams shall be provided with substantially equal budgets per participant,
exclusive of gate receipts and other revenues generated by that sport, and in all other respects
shall be treated in a substantially equal manner. However, nothing in this section shall be
construed to require the two teams to conduct combined practice sessions or any other combined
activities related to athletics.
(d) If two teams are provided in the same sport, one of these teams may be restricted to
members of a sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously been limited, and members
of either sex shall be permitted to try out for the other team.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a), (b), and (d), any wrestling team may
be restricted to members of one sex whether or not the overall athletic opportunities of that sex
have previously been limited, provided that programs or events are provided for each sex to the
extent the educational institution or public service determines that these programs or events are
necessary to accommodate the demonstrated interest of each sex to participate in wrestling.
Subd. 4. Provision of separate teams.
When an equal opportunity to participate in the
elementary or secondary school level athletic program of an educational institution or public
service is not provided to members of a sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously
been limited, that educational institution or public service shall, where there is demonstrated
interest, provide separate teams for members of the excluded sex in sports which it determines
will provide members of that excluded sex with an equal opportunity to participate in its athletic
program and which will attempt to accommodate their demonstrated interests.
Subd. 5. Rules.
The commissioner of education, after consultation with the commissioner
of human rights must promulgate rules in accordance with chapter 14 to implement this section
to prevent discrimination in elementary and secondary school athletic programs operated by
educational institutions. The rules promulgated by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall
not require athletic competition or tournaments for teams whose membership may be restricted
to members of a sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously been limited to be
scheduled in conjunction with the scheduling of athletic competition or tournaments for teams
whose membership is not so restricted by this section. Any organization, association or league
entered into by elementary or secondary schools or public services for the purpose of promoting
sports or adopting rules and regulations for the conduct of athletic contests between members
shall provide rules and regulations and conduct its activities so as to permit its members to
comply fully with this section. The rules of that organization, association or league may provide
separate seasons for athletic competition or tournaments in a sport for teams whose membership
may be restricted to members of a sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously been
limited from athletic competition or tournaments established for teams in that same sport whose
membership is not so restricted by this section, and its rules may prohibit a participating student
from competing on more than one school team in a given sport during a single school year.
History: 1975 c 338 s 1; 1980 c 355 s 1; 1981 c 339 s 1; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1998 c 397 art 9
s 8,9,26; 1998 c 398 art 5 s 55; 2003 c 130 s 12