National Wrestling Coaches v. U.S. Dept. of Educ, No. CIV.02-0072 EGS.

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtSullivan
Citation263 F.Supp.2d 82
PartiesNATIONAL WRESTLING COACHES ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Defendant.
Decision Date11 June 2003
Docket NumberNo. CIV.02-0072 EGS.
263 F.Supp.2d 82
NATIONAL WRESTLING COACHES ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Defendant.
No. CIV.02-0072 EGS.
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
June 11, 2003.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Lawrence J. Joseph, Esq., Robert A. Matthews, Esq., McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Washington, DC, Counsel for Plaintiffs.

Joseph W. LoBue, Esq., Sheila Lieber, Esq., U.S. Department of Justice, Laurie J. Weinstein, United States Attorney's Office, Washington, DC, Counsel for Defendant.

Marcia D. Greenberger, Esq., Dina R. Lassow, Esq., Neena K. Chaudhry, Esq., Kathleen A. Behan, Esq., Michael C. Augustini, Esq., Ellen W. Woodward, Esq., Lynn Y. Tran, Esq., Arnold & Porter,

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Washington, DC, Counsel for amicus National Women's Law Center et al.

Theodore Voorhees, Jr, Esq., Timothy J. Keefer, Esq., Covington & Burling, Washington, DC, Counsel for amicus Independent Women's Forum.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SULLIVAN, District Judge.


I. Introduction

Plaintiffs, National Wrestling Coaches Association ("NWCA"), Committee to Save Bucknell Wrestling ("CSBW"), Marquette Wrestling Club ("MWC"), Yale Wrestling Association ('TWA"), and College Sports Council ("CSC") are associations representing male intercollegiate and scholastic athletes, coaches, and alumni. They commenced this action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to enjoin the U.S. Department of Education ("DoE") from enforcing Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, in a manner they contend results in discrimination against male athletes. Specifically, plaintiffs maintain that the Department's current enforcement policies lead educational institutions to cut men's sports teams, artificially limit the number of participants on men's teams, and otherwise impermissibly discriminate against men based on sex in the provision of athletic opportunities, thereby denying male athletes and other interested parties the equal protection of laws.

Accordingly, plaintiffs, on behalf of their members, challenge the agency's "1979 Policy Interpretation" and "1996 Clarification," pursuant to which Title IX and its regulations are currently enforced. Plaintiffs contend that both of these policy statements violate the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and exceed the agency's regulatory authority under the statute by requiring the very discrimination the statute prohibits. Moreover, plaintiffs allege that the 1996 "Clarification" effectively amended the substantive provisions of the 1975 Title IX regulations under the guise of interpretation and clarification without formal rulemaking, thus violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Plaintiffs also maintain that procedural infirmities in promulgation of both the 1979 Policy Interpretation and the 1996 Clarification render both documents null and void.

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief vacating the 1996 Clarification and the 1979 Policy Interpretation, compelling the Department of Education to conduct formal notice and comment rulemaking "consistent with Title IX, the U.S. Constitution, and this Court's declaratory relief in this action," and staying all "disparate-impact components" of Title IX regulations until a new final rule is promulgated.

Currently pending before this Court are defendant's motion to dismiss and plaintiffs' opposed motion for leave to file a second amended complaint.

Upon careful consideration of the motions, the responses and replies thereto, the oral arguments of counsel, the entire record herein, as well as the governing statutory and case law, and for the following reasons, it is by the Court hereby

ORDERED that the plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a second amended complaint is hereby DENIED; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant's motion to dismiss is hereby GRANTED.

A. Parties

NWCA is a not-for-profit corporation representing the interests of collegiate and

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scholastic wrestling coaches. First Am. Compl. ¶ 4.

CSBW is an unincorporated not-forprofit association of student-athletes attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, as well as Bucknell University alumni, formed to advocate for maintenance or reinstatement of Bucknell University's intercollegiate wrestling program. Id. ¶ 5. Its members include students who competed on the university's 2001-2002 men's wrestling team. Id.

MWC is an unincorporated not-for-profit association of student-athletes attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, along with alumni of the University, formed to raise funds to support Marquette's men's wrestling program. Id. ¶ 6.

YWA is an unincorporated not-for-profit association, formed to provide financial support to the men's wrestling program at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and to seek reinstatement of men's wrestling as an intercollegiate varsity sport at the University. Id. ¶ 7.

CSC is a not-for-profit District of Columbia corporation which serves as an umbrella organization for groups representing the interests of collegiate coaches and athletes, and includes among its members the national collegiate coaches' associations for men's and women's swimming, track and field, wrestling, and men's gymnastics. Id. ¶ 8.

Defendant DoE, is the federal agency responsible for implementation and enforcement of Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681-1688, the federal statute prohibiting discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

The National Women's Law Center ("NWLC"), American Volleyball Coaches Association, International Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association, National Fast-pitch Softball Coaches Association, Women's Basketball Coaches Association, American Association of University Women, and Women's Sports Foundation, moved for and were granted permission to participate as amid curiae in this case. All are organizations asserting an interest in the achievement of equal opportunities for women and girls in athletics, and filed briefs in support of defendant's motion to dismiss.

Also participating as amicus curiae is the Independent Women's Forum ("IWF"), a nonprofit organization advocating for "individual liberty and responsibility, self-governance, the superiority of the market economy, and ... equal opportunity for all." IWF joins plaintiffs in opposing defendant's motion to dismiss, principally advancing arguments on the merits of plaintiffs' claims.

B. Procedural History

DoE filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), on the grounds that plaintiffs lack standing to bring their claims under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, and that their action is barred on sovereign immunity and statute of limitations grounds.

Plaintiffs cross-moved for summary judgment in their response to the defendant's motion to dismiss. However, by Order dated July 25, 2002, proceedings on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment were stayed until the question of subject matter jurisdiction was resolved.

The Court heard oral argument on defendant's motion to dismiss on October 15, 2002. Presumably in an effort to correct the jurisdictional defects alleged by defendant, plaintiffs moved for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. On January 16, 2003, plaintiffs filed a "Notice of Petition,"

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advising the Court that plaintiff CSC had petitioned the Secretary of Education, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 553(e) of the APA,1 seeking repeal of the 1979 Policy Interpretation and 1996 Clarification.

II.Statutory and Regulatory Framework

In light of the complexity of the regulatory scheme through which Title IX has been implemented and enforced over the past 30 years, as well as the significance of the statute's substantive and procedural history to plaintiffs' claims, the Court will first engage in a comprehensive review of the Title IX statutory and regulatory framework before directly addressing plaintiffs' claims.

A. Title IX

Title IX was enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, following extensive hearings on discrimination in education, during which over 1200 pages of testimony were gathered, documenting "massive, persistent patterns of discrimination against women" in colleges and universities. Pub.L. No. 92-318, §§ 901-905, 86 Stat. 373-75 (1972); 118 Cong. Rec. 5804 (daily ed. Feb. 28, 1972) (statement of Sen. Bayh). The objectives of the statute are two-fold: "to avoid the use of federal resources to support discriminatory practices," and "to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices." Cannon v. Univ. of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677, 704, 99 S.Ct. 1946, 1961, 60 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Section 901 of Title IX, which is patterned after Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational programs and activities. Pub.L. No. 92-318, § 901, codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (2003); 118 Cong. Rec. 5802, 5803, 5807 (daily edition Feb. 28, 1972) (statement of Sen. Bayh); N. Haven Bd. of Edue. v. Bell, 456 U.S. 512, 514, 529, 102 S.Ct. 1912, 72 L.Ed.2d 299 (1982). It provides, in relevant part:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance ....

20 U.S.C. § 1681. The statute expressly precludes a finding of discrimination based solely on statistical evidence of gender disparities in athletic programs:

Nothing contained in ... this section shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of...

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14 practice notes
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS"). See National Wrestling Coaches Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ. , 263 F. Supp. 2d 82, 91 (D.D.C. 2003). HEW’s regulations promulgating § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act remain in HHS’s regulations. See 45 C.F.R. §§ 80.7 –80.8.1......
  • National Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. Dept. of Educ., No. 03-5169.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • May 14, 2004
    ...second amended complaint would cure this jurisdictional defect. See Nat'l Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 104-27 (D.D.C.2003). The District Court rejected on its merits appellants' APA claim regarding the NWCA petition for repeal or amendment of th......
  • Equity in Athletics, Inc. v. Department of Educ., Civil Action No. 5:07CV00028.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • August 21, 2007
    ...to those athletic programs which directly received federal funds." National Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't. of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 94 F. The 1996 Clarification On September 20, 1995, in response to questions about the regulations implementing Page 98 Title IX and the 19......
  • Equity in Athletics, Inc. v. Department of Education, Civil Action No. 5:07CV00028.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • December 30, 2009
    ...to those athletic programs which directly receive[] federal dollars." Nat'l Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 94 VI. Policy Clarifications On September 20, 1995, in response to questions regarding the regulations implementing Title IX and the 1979 Po......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS"). See National Wrestling Coaches Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ. , 263 F. Supp. 2d 82, 91 (D.D.C. 2003). HEW’s regulations promulgating § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act remain in HHS’s regulations. See 45 C.F.R. §§ 80.7 –80.8.1......
  • National Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. Dept. of Educ., No. 03-5169.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • May 14, 2004
    ...second amended complaint would cure this jurisdictional defect. See Nat'l Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 104-27 (D.D.C.2003). The District Court rejected on its merits appellants' APA claim regarding the NWCA petition for repeal or amendment of th......
  • Equity in Athletics, Inc. v. Department of Educ., Civil Action No. 5:07CV00028.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • August 21, 2007
    ...to those athletic programs which directly received federal funds." National Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't. of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 94 F. The 1996 Clarification On September 20, 1995, in response to questions about the regulations implementing Page 98 Title IX and the 19......
  • Equity in Athletics, Inc. v. Department of Education, Civil Action No. 5:07CV00028.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • December 30, 2009
    ...to those athletic programs which directly receive[] federal dollars." Nat'l Wrestling Coaches Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Educ., 263 F.Supp.2d 82, 94 VI. Policy Clarifications On September 20, 1995, in response to questions regarding the regulations implementing Title IX and the 1979 Po......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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