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In 1976, Massachusetts passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution. Three years later — acting on a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union — the State Supreme Court cited the amendment in declaring boys could not be prohibited from playing on girls’ teams when a school does not offer a team for boys in the same sport.
Nowhere has the interaction been thornier than in field hockey, where court rulings, proposed rule changes, and concerns for player safety have dominated the discussion.
The number of boys competing statewide has hovered between 15 and 35 per year in the past decade, according to the MIAA, but some of the boys were dominant, game-changing players.