TSSAA v. Brentwood Academy

  • Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association [TSSAA] v. Brentwood Academy (Brentwood II) (2007)

    DREDF signed on to an amicus brief in Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association [TSSAA] v. Brentwood Academy ( Brentwood II ), No. 06-427, which was before the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2007. Brentwood II involves the question of what constitutes a “state actor” for purposes of compliance with constitutional and civil rights obligations. In the original case, Brentwood Academy challenged TSSAA’s imposition of penalties for violations of athletic recruiting rules. Among other things, TSSAA raised the defense that as a private organization it was not subject to constitutional requirements. The Brentwood I amicus brief argued in favor of a “state actor” analysis that would help ensure that private organizations functioning expansively in the public sphere will be subject to nondiscrimination protections. The specific focus was on issues of Title IX compliance and gender equality in sports, but the underlying principle can be generalized to diverse situations of relevance to all civil rights communities. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled favorably to the amici position, holding that TSSAA was a “state actor”, and generally endorsing a “state actor” analysis that is protective to the interests of civil rights communities. In Brentwood II amici argued that Brentwood I was correctly decided as to the “state actor” analysis, and the brief urges the high court not to overrule its Brentwood I decision on this issue. Indeed, the 2007 Court Opinion let its 2001 Opinion stand.

    Supreme Court decision