A Howard County female student who contends she was discriminated against by being refused a tryout for her high school football team will get to try out after all.
Angela Wise, a Howard High School junior, will be allowed to go out for football if she turns in the required medical form that indicates she healthy enough to play sports, a lawyer for the school system said Tuesday.
"When she comes back with her physical, she will be allowed to try out," said Jeffrey Crew, a lawyer representing the school system.
Mr. Crew said the 5-foot 4-inch, 120-pound student never was denied the chance to try out for the team because she was a girl, but had her tryout cut short because she lacked the necessary paperwork to continue.
"She was allowed to try out the first time," he said. "She was allowed a partial tryout."
Angela, who has a Friday appointment to have a doctor fill out the medical form, contends that Coach John Quinn did not allow her to try out because she was a girl.
School officials deny that, though Coach Quinn has said he was concerned for her safety and had suggested she try other sports.
"We still don't think it's a good sport for her to try out," Mr. Crew said.
But Angela, who takes auto shop classes and wants to open her own garage after graduating from college, is ready for practice.
"I know I'm going to get hurt, but I'm going to take my chances," she said. "I've been wanting to play all my life."
She expects her first practice day to be Monday. To make the team, however, she will have to run 12 minutes without stopping or one mile continuously, and bench press at least 135 pounds.
She also will have to sign a "contract" to keep her grades at a "C" level or better during the semester, which she failed to do the previous semester. Athletes at Howard are required to go on contract if they did not earn a 2.0 GPA the previous semester.
Angela's father, Charlie Wise, said Angela is prepared for the rough and tumble of the gridiron.
"Football's rough, but I think she's in the situation that she understands she's not out there playing badminton with the girls," he said.
"I think it's a shame that with all that's been done with equal rights, a young lady on her own has to resort to help from the ACLU to be able to just try something that should be allowed," he added.
Angela had been in contact with the American Civil Liberties Union in Baltimore for a possible sex discrimination lawsuit. The civil liberties organization faxed a letter to Howard High School Principal Eugene Streagle last Friday, saying the school was violating Title IX by not allowing Angela to try out.